Topics: Humor, Trends

Let's hope the folks who produce the Oxford Dictionary of English never lose their hard drive. They are the keeper of words, so to speak, and produce a hefty twenty-volume set of English words. In that set, they continuously add new words without deleting words that contemporary society no longer uses in writing or speaking.

Since most people don't want to cart around a complete set, the Oxford Dictionary folks offer a Concise Dictionary. Like clothing fashions that are no longer in vogue, in this edition, words that aren't current are excised to make room for newer ones.

In a funny story about these editions and words, Robert Fulford suggests that we should have a category for "endangered words." He writes, "Perhaps we need a system of adopting words to keep them safe and well, the way people adopt favourite stretches of highway. We would sign up, promise to use our chosen words as often as possible and of course object when they are misused or threatened with abandonment."

My question, what are two words you would try to keep in the concise dictionary?


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Steve Better Kowtow
…to friendly peer pressure before Some Bozo Kneejerks a silly spiel about him. I’d hate for Steve to Suddenly Become Kitsch in the eyes of some impatient soul here who can’t wait for him to rejoin the conversation.

I know, it’d Sure Be Knavish on anyone’s part to treat him bad, but in their defense, Steve really Should Be Knowledgeable about this crowd by now, and understand that we’ve put up with his absinthe (as duly Signified By Kevin) for far too long. I mean, like the proverbial leaven in the loaf, he’s been Silent-But-Kneaded here beyond the acceptable limits of proper social etiquette. Why, if I had a YOD of my own… Time to render that long-sought encore, I say.

Hopefully, he’ll Soon Be Kicking out comment again, stuff typical of him: Sagacious, Beautiful; Keenly insightful. And soon! (Surely By Kwanzaa?)

Take a hint, Steve, before Some Brainless Kook here foolishly wields the verbal equivalent of Solid Brass Knuckles on your Sorry Bedeviled Keister.

-- Rolley “Seeking Better Koinonia” Haggard
In the Spirit of On-topic Thread-jumping
…here’s a word I’d like to see hit that endangered list: ‘Al-Qaeda’. And I can think of a few more to go with it.
And, of course, sciurophobia
Although I found this to be rather insulting, actually:

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, anyone? A word that *causes* what it also *describes*!
Headline: "Sciolist Begets Kerfuffle!"

... when he unwisely comments too often :P

Be assured, you are all in my heart and source of many joys and amusements (more Anglo-Saxon Jason!)

Until next time, receive my Spiritually Bestowed Kiss.
Don't worry Peet. I will refrain from defenestrating you until commanded by the wittanagemot.
Sorry I didn't check this over the weekend-- it was a WAAAAY over-the-top weekend, in about three different ways.
First, I had thought the adage was "Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder." No? Did I mis-hear?
Second, please don't defenestrate me, anyone-- I'm still hoping to become a father some day. (Oh-- have I mis-understood again?)
Third, today is the 10th anniversary for me-- ten yrs. ago today I was hit on the freeway, while riding my motorcycle. Eyewitnesses said I flew 60 ft. through the air (ended up with a cracked rib, which made my first sneeze four days later truly memorable!). Funny thing was, co-workers told me when I informed them what had happened, "Wow, you must really think there's a reason you're still here." Uh, yeah-- but then I've thought that for many decades now! :-)
And fourth, two more example of what I wrote for my Word of the Week offerings. I don't think I had specified this, but one rule I set for myself was not to think of a sentence in advance, but to do it all on the spot (much in the manner of Bill Evans' liner notes for the Miles Davis classic, "Kind of Blue," if you've read them). Anyway, the words here are 'aerie' and 'popinjay.'

Crouched up high within his aerie,
The eagle looked down on the dairy,
And thought it might be rather scary
To try to seize a calf.

He thought, “I’m ’fraid I’d bust a wing,
And wind up with it in a sling.
Nah, I don’t need that kind of thing,
Not even by a half!”

His plans now having gone awry,
He uttered forth a hungry sigh,
But then his next meal caught his eye—
Was that a young giraffe??

With hair combed o’er and curled just so,
With eyes alight for fabrics new,
The popinjay (a thorough beau)
Now dresses for the big to-do.

His mustache is immaculate,
His sleeves all puffed and full of scent;
A poofy poodle for his pet--
A pity that his youth’s all spent!
Surely Bedtime for Kids
leaves eventide respite for corresponding with friends.
Simply Brutal Kurtosis
Indeed, Rolley, in graphing SBK's appearances here we would find statistically long periods of absence - perhaps "Steve's Breakpoint Kenosis"?

Personally, I think he's testing the adage "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." Which for him, at least in my case, is very true.

I think if we directly (and somewhat selfishly) asked him to post here more often, he'd probably cite his growing family via "Sure - But Kids...!"
Wittanagemot, Wittan for short-counsel of wise men: Meeting of chieftains and elders to advice the King. Anglo-Saxon(the matter of the impending succession crises was debated by the Wittan

Fyrd: Militia. Anglo-saxon/Scandinavian(Aelfwine was called to do service in the fiord)

Huscarl: Retainer, especially in military context. Anglo Saxon/Scandinavian.(Njal spent a time as a Huscarl for Jarl Biorn).

Carl: Freeholder(Njal returned from his voyage with Jarl Biorn with enough plunder to set himself up as a Carl)

Jarl: Noble. Scandinavian(Jarl Biorn went a-voyaging every summer for seeking trade and pluder)

Thing: court and legislature. Scandinavian(Jarl Biorn summoned Thing and heard Njal's claim of damages for the injured horse)
Avast! An Interval Shorter than Planck Time!
To wit: an appearance by SBK.

He used to talk the talk here at Breakpoint with the rest of us. Now, with peculiar irony, he merely walks the Planck.

I’m thinking “SBK” most likely stands for “Should Be Keelhauled”. (Just kidding, SBK. But can’t imagine what’s more important in your life than us).

Add “vainglorious” to Rolley’s list of words.
Speaking of "barrens strewn with lifeless corpses" here are some words from Arctic forests strewn with lifeless corpses.

Suomi: poetic name for Finland. Also a nasty submachine gun once used by the Finnish Army.

Sisu: guts or chutzpah. What the Finnish army had which is why it was able to take on the Russian Army.

Motti: wood chips from a lumberyard, or in other words nasty splinters lying around that no one wants to bother to pick up. The urban equiv is broken glass. Also pieces of a Russian column cut off in the middle of the wilderness by a Finnish flanking maneuver.

"Scarcely had he moved his eyebrows, ere the pygmy full unfoldeth, quick becomes a mighty giant"
Thank God for Synonyms
Carol, in the spirit of “choose your battles”, let the Devil take the barrens strewn with lifeless corpses if he will, as if mere square footage, represented by the multitude of words, were a sign of victory. Rather, let us who love Christ take the citadel where Idea is king. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

P.S. Add ‘shibboleth’ to that growing list.
May I interrupt all your fun to ask a question? What good does it do to use a word no one understands? In particular, I like the word "gay" (in its original meaning). I had a friend in grade school whose name was Gaye--and she was! She was a bright little sunbeam of a girl who was friends with everybody whether they wanted to be friends or not! I have never called homosexuals "gay", but I find if I use the word "gay" in conversation, my listeners always take it in its modern meaning. You can see it on their faces as they struggle to fit a homosexual into a context that does not support such usage. I have a list as long as your arm of words I know and love, but do not use for similar reasons. What to do?
Excellent everyone.
Well, I must be off. Sorry I could not provide more hortatory.
"mercy" and "grace"?
Rolley, your grumping on "archaic" words from the old hymns got me to thinking: is it possible an increasingly merciless, graceless post-Christian society might forget even *those* seemingly "common" words? Unless, that is, we Christians use them as often as possible around the unconverted.

On a somewhat lighter note, is it possible that "hymn" is itself an endangered word, in some congregations?

I'm going to meditate for a while on objects of worship, and "hymn/Him" verses/versus "chorus/us".
I vote we play a Te Deum for the eleemosynary magnanimity of Peet in bestowing such examples of lexical elocution upon the breakpoint nakama. I am sure the erudite of many polities will conduct a great yomp rather then see Peet defenestrated.
And here I thought 'eleemosynary' was a Pointism. I didn't even google it to find a definition until Kevin related his use of the word to others. *chagrined look*

Yomp sounds like a Dr. Seuss word. Sort of like a Yop who likes to hop, hop, hop from finger-top to finger-top. Maybe a Yomp likes to chomp, chomp, chomp on a camel's homp.

Okay, Kevin, you started the beans spilling. What are some other words and their related sentences that you liked and emailed?
Horn-tooting time again?
For about 3 years, I sent out a Word of the Week to a small list of correspondents, maybe 35. These were words that I liked and thought were interesting for whatever reason, and I set myself the task of making up a sentence of poem that would illustrate the meaning.
And I was kind of proud of this one, for 'eleemosynary':

"But, wait—!" Watson's brow was knitted, as he took a moment to formulate his question. "Holmes, why in the world would someone willingly give up his life for the sake of other people?"

"Eleemosynary, my dear Watson," Holmes replied calmly. "He did it out of extreme charity, out of love even. And perhaps 'in the world' is too limiting a sphere in which to regard such an act."

(A way to slip the Gospel in sideways, to the scientists I work with!)
Ok, I found it.

Now how about "Yomp" as in "travel by foot as opposed to by vehicle." Orgin, British Military:

"The Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regiment was ordered to yomp all the way across Britain in punishment for having defenestrated Lee and Rolley's Petard."
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