CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION: flaunting expensive items so as to appear to be wealthy

conspicuous consumption

There are millionaires all over the place.  There was a time in my life when to know a millionaire was special.   But today that privilege has passed on to knowing billionaires, of which there are also a larger number than I could ever have imagined. Just think about people who are winning lotteries in amounts […]

USURY: charging a fee or interest which is exaggerated and obscene on a product or service.


The key words in the political campaigns being waged this year are  “economic inequality.”  It doesn’t matter which party or candidate you choose to check out.  They are all either defending it or blasting it.   Some of the dialogue is passionate and concerned.  Some of it is cruel and uncaring. The point is that the […]

LODESTONE: something that attracts strongly


In scientific circles, a lodestone is a magnet, or anything with the properties of a magnet. We are told by scientists that there are natural magnets, which, by their very nature, are able to attract other metals to them.  There are also man-made devices, such as electrical  objects which can do the same thing. But […]

TO THE MANNER BORN: accustomed from birth to a certain habit or custom*

manner born

It looked like a typographical error when I saw this term used in an article.   I seemed like it should be “to the manor born.”   It’s a term which usually applies to one who is affluent or privileged, and indicates that they are someone who has been raised in a category of society with large […]

FLANEUR [fläˈ-NOOR]: idler, one who wanders aimlessly, having the ability to do so


I love this word.  flâneur Yes, it is French, but it has become somewhat commonplace in somewhat more “upscale” articles and literature in American English, as well.   You will see an  in the word most of the time, retaining its French spelling, but in modern American English such accent marks are optional. The word […]

DISPARITY [dih-SPAR-i-tee]: inequitable or unfair imbalance

To experience disparity is greater than the experience of difference.  There is a value attributed to disparity.  It’s unfair. In the past year or more we have heard a lot about the disparity between the wealthy and those who struggle economically.  It became a daily theme in the election campaigns and was exacerbated by the […]