Archive for 5: lllowercase 3

rrr: And Not a Mere Device

I am but a poor speaker; my words stumble from my tongue (or keyboard) like bleary-eyed tosspots after a night's carouse. But I'll do what I can with my poor skills to discuss rhetoric. "Doesn't everyone know what a rhetorical question is?" I hear you ask. But questions that don't require answers are not what […]

qqq: Roots

Dominus has been collecting material for some time now to be eventually turned into an online etymology quiz. The general idea behind the quiz is to give people an idea of which kinds of etymology are likely to be true and which aren't, rather than to trick people. To that end, although the quiz includes […]

ppp: The Sum of Its Parts

"I thought ... I might trick myself into ... more precise language and not go chasing across your pages, my dear Journal, like a wild-eyed Diana shooting in all directions in the hope of bringing down one perfect word." —Dorcas, in Sesyle Joslin's The Young Savages Before I can talk about this week's topic, I […]

ooo: A Tautology Is a Tautology Is a Tautology

About seven months ago, an English teacher wrote to ask me if I knew of any lists of oxymorons. I did a little poking around on the Web and in various reference and wordplay books, but found surprisingly little on the subject. For instance, neither the rec.puzzles archive nor the alt.usage.english FAQ mentioned oxymorons at […]

nnn: More Names, More Games

I know of at least three entirely different games called The Name Game. One of them is used for introductions and theatre warmups: everyone stands in a circle, and one person says their name paired with an adjective that starts with the same letter—"Frantic Fran," for instance. As they say this, they make a gesture […]

mmm: Whenwords (1999)

Time for another dictionary game; this one can be played with either an electronic or a paper dictionary, though it works best with a paper one. Most good dictionaries provide a date for each primary entry. The date given is generally the date of the earliest known written English document which uses the word. (By […]

lll: An Art Form Complex

I was wondering the other morning what the L to write about this week; by the greatest good fortune, I chanced to check my email and lo, there was a note from Don Monson filled with limericks. A brief check of the index assured me that the last time I wrote about limericks, I had […]