Archive for New-to-me Words

SNC meteorites

According to David Darling’s website: SNC meteorites are a group of [meteorites] thought to have come from the surface of Mars and named after the initials of the places where the first three were found: Shergotty, India in 1865, Chassigny, France in 1815, and Nahkla, Egypt in 1911. The SNC subgroups are the shergottites, nakhlites, […]

Not, in Fact, Related to Tile

As a middle-aged person with teenagers, I occasionally run up against language that Kids These Days are using.  Yesterday, I learned “groutfit” when another mom posted on Facebook that her son came home wearing someone else’s shirt: he was mocked for wearing a groutfit, so he traded shirts with a friend. A “groutfit” is a […]

arsy-tansy, revisited

Back in 2012, I wrote an entry about encountering the word arsy-tansy in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, and discovering that that term didn’t exist anywhere else. Just now, I came across the word arsy-versy in an Anthony Boucher story, “The Chronokinesis of Jonathan Hull.” (“The disturbingly arsy-versy normal world…”) It turns […]


Standover tactics require a standover man. Or a standover woman, of course. A standover person of any kind. Or perhaps a standover kangaroo would do, I'm not sure about all of these antipodean nuances.


My dictionary says that shagreen is a kind of untanned leather (by which it presumably means rawhide), or “the rough skin of various sharks and rays.” Wikipedia says that shagreen is a kind of rawhide, from a horse or a shark or a ray. (I’m paraphrasing.) Both indicate that the word derives from the French […]


According to Wikipedia: “Corvée […] is a form of unpaid, unfree labour, which is intermittent in nature and which lasts limited periods of time: typically only a certain number of days’ work each year.”