SULLY: to stain or tarnish


The word sully is usually used in connection with the words “one’s reputation.”   It refers to the intentional act of defaming someone, of saying or doing something that stains their reputation and destroys their integrity in the public’s eyes.  It is a word that comes to us in English from the French  word souiller  which means […]

DENIGRATE [DEN-i-greyt]: to speak damagingly about someone


It seems easy for some people to put down others without a lot of angst.   It just comes naturally to them. Oh, there are comedians who rely upon denigration as their medium, but they just chalk it off as humor…no matter how hurtful or damaging it may be.  That’s a hard one to deal with, […]

RUN AMOK : to go awry, to steer away from the planned course


There’s really no mystery as to the meaning of the common term  to run amok.  We use the words all the time to reference a plan that has gone berserk, running in all directions rather than according to plan. Just ask any nursery school teacher about the word and you’ll get a knowing smile.  Put […]

BLOVIATE: to speak pompously


We’re not in an election season (officially), but it only takes the wink of an eye before the 2014 elections are upon us.  Already, there are candidates announcing their intentions to run.  Smart ones are announcing their intention to establish a committee to explore the possibilities of running.   That gives them an out if they […]

GIG: a single engagement for a performer or other professional


There are a variety of meanings for the word gig, but for this posting I have chosen to focus on the one which inspired me to check out the word. It has to do with entertainment or other fields of employment where a professional books individual events, one at a time.    They are accumulated in […]