January 13, 2007

bonne bouche

bonne bouche: a tasty morsel kept for last so as to finish with a "good (taste in the mouth) n.
--Xenia, Coleman Barks.

bonne-bouche [bahn-BOOSH] French for "tasty little bite," referring to any of various small enticements such as a snack, tidbit or hors d'oeuvre.
--The New Food Lover's Companion, 3rd edition, Sharon Tyler Herbst.

Bloggin' John Comments:
Bonne bouche: This term represents elegance and good taste.

January 12, 2007


pellucid: translucently clear adj. [pə loō' sid]:
mountains reflected in the pellucid waters.
• lucid in style or meaning; easily understood :
he writes, as always, in pellucid prose.
• (of music or other sound) clear and pure in tone :
a smooth legato and pellucid singing tone are his calling cards.

DERIVATIVES pellucidly adverb ORIGIN early 17th cent.: from Latin pellucidus, from perlucere ‘shine through.’
--Oxford American Dictionary Electronic Version 1.0.1 (1.0.1)

Bloggin John Comments:
The main reason I selected pellucid for this blog was to share with you Cynthia Ozick's thoughts about the word presented in Lewis Burke's The Logophile's Orgy: Favorite words of Famous People. When asked to identify her favorite word, Ozick rhapsodized thus about pellucid:

"'Pellucid,' because of both the (limpid, lucent) sound and the nearly utopian slant of meaning. An intensity of clarity--of light, of openness, of truth, of person, of history. 'Pelluid' suggests--or promises--that nothing more than the thinnest, most transparent membrane lies between longing and enlightenment."

Ozick's words seem to float and shimmer impressionistically above the page, not fully tethered or grounded--just turning, brightening.

January 11, 2007


pawky: lively, uninhibited and bold adj.
-- Xenia, Coleman Barks

: drily humorous; sardonic adj. (pawkier, pawkiest) chiefly Scottish & N. English
--Compact Oxford English Dictionary

pawky adj. chiefly Brit.
having or showing a sly sense of humor : a gentle man with a pawky wit.
• shrewd: she shakes her head with a look of pawky, knowing skepticism.

--Oxford American Dictionary Electronic Version 1.0.1 (1.0.1).

Bloggin' John Comments:
OK. So pawky is currently not much a part of American English. But that doesn't mean we Americans should not be making happy use of it. Merriam Webster thinks the word might be of value in the US because it offers an entry for it in its Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary Dictionary (2003):
adj. [obs. E. dialect. pawk trick] chiefly Brit: Artfully shrewd: canny.

Pawky is a word that offers plenty of nuance. Using just the descriptors in the citations above, we can see that it is apt in describing certain edgy human qualities (artfully shrewd, canny,
lively, uninhibited, bold) as well as types of humor (sly sense of humor, dryly humorous, sardonic). What better single word is there to describe the subtleties and excesses of pawky John Stewart?

January 9, 2007



something extra, something for good measure n. Pronounced lan-yap.

--I Always Look Up the Word Egregious, Maxwell Nurnberg

This word was born in the United States among the Creole population of Louisiana. It's original meaning is seen in this sentence written by a traveler in 1893 in Harper's Magazine:
"'Take that for lagniappe,' says a storekeeper in New Orleans as he folds a pretty calendar into the bundle of stationary you have purchased." (Nurnberg)

Bloggin' John Comments
When using the word to explain your motive for offering a gift, say "That's for lagniappe" or "Take this for lagniappe," rather than adding an article in front of the word, as in "I want to give you a lagniappe." That little smidgin of an a would tag you right off as a visitor from the north.

If, by the way, you're not quite sure about the meaning of the final word in the title of Maxwell Nurnberg's book I Always Look Up the Word Egregious, you'll find that The Little Oxford Dictionary defines egregious as "extremely bad." I've quoted the LOD's definition of egregious here, not out of necessity, but, rather, for lagniappe.



plutoed: to demote or devalue someone or something much like what happened go the former planet last year when the General Assembly of the International Union decided Pluto didn’t meet its definition of a planet. v.

“’Plutoed’ was chosen 2006 Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society at its annual meeting on Friday.”

“’Plutoed won in a runoff against ‘climate canary,’ defined as an organism or species whose poor health or declining numbers hint at a larger environmental catastrophe on the horizon”

“Other words in the running: murse (man’s purse), flog (a fake blog that promotes products) and macaca (an American citizen treated as an alien.”
--The Assoicated Press, Jan. 7, 2007.

Bloggin’ John Comments:
In terms of syntax, plutoed is, of course, a verb, as in “We was plutoed!” As a noun, Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable defines Pluto in the manner of the ancient Greeks: “The grave, or the god of that [underworld] region where the dead go.”

Pluto is the Latin name for Hades, king of the Underworld. If one of the planets had “to go down," Pluto was an apt candidate for demotion, for among its partners, its name is the only one whose story prominently involves a human's doomed movement downward.

January 8, 2007


pixilated adj.
1) Behaving as mentally unbalanced; very excentric.
2) Whimsical, prankish.
3) Slang Intoxicated; drunk [From PIXIE]
-- Pixilation n.

Bloggin' John Comments:
In 1936 pixilated appeared in the dialogue Frank Capra's movie "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town." The film popularized the word "pixilated", which was used (in this case) to imply craziness, or the seeming illogical nature of Longfellow Deeds' actions in the film."
--Wikipedia: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

J. N. Hook in The Grand Panjandrum gives an imaginative scenario of this curious word's origin: "A pixie is a mischievous fairy, spright, or person. Combine pixie with titillated and you get pixilated, 'mischievous, amusingly tricky or unpredictable, whimsical, a bit eccentric.': . There is also a noun, pixilation."

But the Oxford Compact English Dictionary states that pixilated derives from "from pixie-led, led astray by pixies"--a more likely explanation.

Whatever the origin, pixilated can be just the right word to describe an eccentric friend caught in the middle of some whimical prank or amusing deed.

January 7, 2007


bing: v. To go.
--Bing avast; get you gone. Binged avast is a darkmans; stole away in the night. Bing we to Rumeville; shall we go to London?

-- The Vulgar Tongue Francis Gross

Bloggin' John Comments:
The definition of bing above was taken from from the oldest dictionary of English slang, Francis Gross's The Vulgar Tongue, which was first published in 1785. The sample sentences above may a bit difficult to follow. All you need to know is that bing means to go.

I like the sound of the word: bing! I 'd love to hear people saying . . .
"It's late. Gotta bing."
"When will you binging into the river?"

"Bing avast!" said the Ship's Captain, a sharp taskmaster, to the lazy sailor.

"Was Wanda a bing bing dancer in the sixties?"
"Hurry, or you'll be late! Bing! Bing! Bing!"