Category Archives: language

The longest word in literature

Here it is: λοπαδο­τεμαχο­σελαχο­γαλεο­κρανιο­λειψανο­δριμυ­ποτριμματο­σιλφιο­καραβο­μελιτο­κατακεχυμενο­κιχλε­πικοσσυφο­φαττο­περιστερα­λεκτρυο­νοπτο­κεφαλλιο­κιγκλο­πελειο­λαγῳο­σιραιο­βαφητραγανοπτερύγων This is an ancient Greek word listed in Wikipedia (see also Wiktionary), which says “The Greek word has 172 letters and 78 syllables. The transliteration has 182 Latin characters. It is the longest word ever to appear in literature according to Guinness World Records (1990).” The transliteration into English is this: Lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimhypotrimmato […]

More words I hate

And for further persiflage on a no-braining day, here is the latest list of words I abhor. You can see the influence of PuffHo here! “Gets real”, as in “Chrissie Teigen gets real about morning sickness.” What it apparently means is “tells the truth for once” or “says something unpleasant to hear”. “Clap back”. This odious […]

Words and phrases that need to get off my lawn

From time to time I put up words or phrases that grate on me, and then readers can vent their gripes as well. Note that yes, I know that language evolves. So does food, but you don’t have to like neologisms, just as you don’t have to like nouvelle cuisine (I don’t). Here are a […]

The odious double “is”

I just heard this on NPR—by someone who’s supposed to be eloquent: “The main point is, is that. . . . “ Yes, it’s the odious “double is”. I often hear it this way: “The thing is, is that. . . “, which is similar to the phrase above. Now you may say that language […]

What is a microaggression?

I had some discussions recently with a member of a group that would be considered a ‘minority group’ in America, but not one that’s obviously oppressed—Asians.  I was given some statements made by Americans that the woman saw as either insulting or benighted, and I had to agree. This made me rethink the whole concept […]

A bar worth frequenting

It’s the dive bar Continental in the East Village of New York, and it has a new policy, stated in the window. The owner says it’s not that serious: he won’t literally throw people out if they use the l-word. But he’s a language maven: The notice has been hanging there for five or six […]

“Sea change”

My whole life I’ve heard the phrase above (it’s sometimes given as “sea-change”), but never knew what it meant until I looked it up yesterday. It turns out that it simply means a big change. And, like so many other common phrases, it came from Shakespeare. Here’s the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition: Since I just […]

Words that should be deep-sixed

Grania found this tw**t, which I think is right on the mark: Updated my list of words/phrases that need destroying. BaeHolibobsChillaxTotesAmazeballsCray crayBanter/BantzFamNom nomWine o'clockYoloLolzWell jel CoolioAwksMethinksGawjusHunTellyboxHubs/Hubby/HubsterStaycationBe likeWhevsI know rightPreggersEpic — Amanda (@Pandamoanimum) January 17, 2018 The words I especially hate here are “bae”, “totes”, “amazeballs”, “cray cray”, “whatevs”, “be like” and “epic”. Some of them, […]

Another word I hate

As I recall, I heard this on the NBC Evening News the other night, and again on National Public Radio this morning. It is a dreadful word: IMPACTFUL Yes, some dictionaries have it, like Merriam Webster online, which defines it like this:  “having a forceful impact; producing a marked impression (impactful song lyrics, impactful humanitarian efforts)” But seriously, does it […]

Three and a half irritating phrases

Here’s where you can unload your pedantic language gripes. We’ll have no people here saying “this is a trivial issue”. Of course it is, but so what? I have three today, and perhaps I’ve mentioned one of these before: 1.) The duplicated “is”. It goes like this: “The thing is, is that. . . . […]