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I’ve seen the [livejournal.com profile] dictionary_wotd feed go by on other people’s Friends pages, and found the words insufficiently obscure. Maybe once I saw one I didn’t already know. Egress? Cohort? Acclimate? Come on!

Anyway, while I wasn’t paying attention, the World New York weblog turned into Double-Tongued Word Wrester, a spiffy little ongoing slang dictionary. And I see someone’s already made an LJ RSS feed: [livejournal.com profile] doubletongued. Here, a few entries:
potato n. in professional wrestling, a real hit that injures, as opposed to an orchestrated, harmless one.

goonda tax n. money extorted as ‘protection’ or to permit passage on public thoroughfares, or paid as a simple bribe.

Hollywood no n. a lack of response (to a proposal, phone call, message, etc.).

decleat v. in American football, to knock an opponent off his feet. Also n., decleater.

lesbian bed death n. the decline of sexual relations between a committed lesbian couple.

noodle v. to hunt bare-handed in water for fish or turtles.

If you see a word you like, follow the link to the actual site. There are citations and contextual information there that don’t go out in the RSS feed.

New fallacy

Mar. 7th, 2004 12:31 am
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There’s a joke you may have heard:
I was walking home the other night, and I saw a guy wandering around a parking lot, looking intently at the ground. “Looking for something?” I asked. “I lost my car keys,” he replied. So I helped him out, and we spent another half hour searching every damn inch of blacktop in that part of the lot, till finally I got tired of it. “I don’t think they’re here,” I said, “Are you sure you dropped them here?” “Oh, not at all,” he told me, “I dropped them over there, on the other side of the lot.” “What? Why the hell were you wasting time looking over here?” “The light’s better here,” he said.

I’ve used this joke for a while as an example of a particular kind of thinking, where one makes a judgment based on a bad measurement just because it’s easier then trying to gather useful data. Now, thanks to Slacktivist, I find it has a name. Alfred North Whitehead dubbed it the “fallacy of misplaced concreteness”.
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The Yankee or Dixie linguistic quiz has me at 46% Yankee. Which is fair — “Yankee” is a moving target.

Old “Who’s a Yankee” joke )

On the other hand, Wikipedia’s entry on the word suggests that it might have originated in a nickname the Dutch had for English settlers in New York’s early days: Jan Kees, or “John Cheese”.

I got the quiz from [livejournal.com profile] immlass, whose definition of “Yankee” will soon be shifting a slot down that list.
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Merriam-Webster’s spellcheck replacement suggestions for agrumer:

  1. aggressor
  2. agnomen
  3. aggressors
  4. achromat
  5. ignorer
  6. agglomerate
  7. agrarian
  8. egomania
  9. egression
  10. aggression

Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] spazzkat.

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More spoilers for Short Sun )
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Just finished On Blue’s Waters, the first book of the Book of the Short Sun.

Spoilers for all of the Sun books )
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Oh, now that’s interesting! I was browsing through the archives of the Whorl mailing list, and I found a message listing the meanings of the names of the various Fliers from Long Sun.

Spoiler for Long Sun )
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Finished The Book of the Long Sun last night, started On Blue’s Waters (first part of The Book of the Short Sun) today.

Wondering about technology in Long Sun )

Update: The word “azoth” )
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Via Calpundit, here’s the evolution of Iraq’s WMD capabilities:

March 2003: Weapons of mass destruction.
June 2003: Weapons of mass destruction programs.
October 2003: Weapons of mass destruction-related programs.
January 2004: Weapons of mass destruction-related program activities.
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The Bible in 50 Words (via Ken MacLeod, who got it from Avedon Carol, who got it from Localfeeds, whose spaniel has it now)

Ungroovy

Jan. 19th, 2004 08:59 pm
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Six pages into the new sketchbook and I’ve done nothing I feel like scanning and posting. Not the sketchbook’s fault; the Strathmore paper is giving me the excellent performance I expect from Strathmore. (Consider this a recommendation.)

I spent the day at Ground, mostly reading Exodus from the Long Sun, occasionally sketching, but not really getting into the groove. I need a cheap source of Art Nouveau inspirational reference material; Google image search isn’t quite doing it for me. (Hm, this page of doors would be pretty good if the images were larger.)

It’s odd; I came back from Arisia all revved for doing some art, and now I just can’t seem to get into that head-space.

I was thinking about terms for the undead, and considering the D&D monster, the wight. It hadn’t occurred to me before, but whoever named this creature (probably Gygax, his linguistic reach has always exceeded his grasp) should have done a little research. Wight is a Middle English word meaning person, or possibly creature. The undead creature that Tom Bombadil saves the hobbits from he calls “barrow wights”, which simply means grave men. Gygax (or whoever) clearly seized upon the unfamiliar word wight as a term for an undead creature, and assumed that barrow was just a way of saying what kind of wight it was, like there are hill giants and storm giants. It’s as if you wrote a story about some zombies haunting a tomb, and called them “tomb folk”, and someone unfamiliar with the word folk decided it meant zombie.
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The word panda has come up on the journals of three different people on my Friends page — none of whom are on each others’ Friends lists — in three totally unrelated contexts. Paging [livejournal.com profile] mamishka, [livejournal.com profile] redbird, [livejournal.com profile] scottbateman, please pick up the black-and-white synchronicity phone.

Bisk

Dec. 28th, 2003 11:44 pm
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I think I remember somebody asking about the habit of calling those disks AOL sends “bisks”. It’s an old alt.aol-sucks reference. Here’s the original post coining the term in 1996, but I first encountered it in this one.

I just use this thing to annotate my life.
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More New Sun stuff; only slightly spoilerish )
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It is Gene Wolfe’s custom to not invent new words or names for his stories. All of the weird words and names in the Book of the New Sun are actual words (or derived from actual words) from other languages, or obscure corners of English, or names from various sources. I don’t own a copy of Lexicon Urthus (though I’ve just added it to my Amazon wish list, though it’s out of print and therefore likely to be expensive), so I’m stuck with what my brain and Google can do.

Some musings on names used in The Book of the New Sun; spoilers )
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Am I the only one who, seeing the word “matinee”, thinks of “manatee”?
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This entry is dedicated to the sheer joy of lookin’ shit up:

Bible Gateway: Sixteen different English translations of the Bible, with word search, as well as the capability to view the same passage in multiple translations on the same page.

The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible only has one translation (King James), but it highlights all of the interesting bits, including weird turns of phrase like “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart” (Deut 10:16).

Silva Rhetoricae means “the forest of rhetoric”, and it’s the place to look if you want to know your antimetabole from your anadiplosis.

The Handprint watercolor pages tell you everything you could want to know about painting with watercolor, from how to lay a wash to technical information about pigments.

Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary and Thesaurus: Nuff said.

Glossarist: Glossaries and dictionaries from a variety of fields. Great if you need to look up terms from political economics or body-piercing terminology or the names of obscure citrus fruits.

Thomas: One of the few good things Newt Gingrich did for America! Look up past or pending congressional legislation, searching by phrase or bill number.

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