Archive for Specific Words

struthious

I was vaguely aware of the word struthious as relating to ostriches, but I don’t think I had previously encountered it used metaphorically. Damon Knight, in his essay in Clarion II, wrote: Wollheim alludes to this episode in a typically struthious way[…] From context, I’m assuming that Knight meant that Wollheim had his head in […]

Gneiss

Gneiss is one of those words that I have a hard time not making jokes about. I’m in the midst of labeling my photos from a 2014 trip to the British Museum. In most cases, I took a photo of a piece of art and then took a photo of the nearby explanatory card, but […]

aqua

Just looked at the list of ingredients for a skin lotion; the first ingredient listed was “aqua.” I figured it probably referred to water, but I’m not used to water being called anything other than water in ingredients lists, so I poked around a little further. Turns out it’s not at all unusual, according to […]

Getting my damneder up

It occurred to me just now that something can be the damnedest thing, and something can be a damned thing, but I’ve never heard anyone refer to something as a damneder thing. But I figured before posting about it, I should do a bit of research to be sure damneder isn’t in wide use. And […]

Sensory metaphors

In a New York Times piece from 2015, Jonah Berger wrote about the longevity of sensory metaphors. An interesting piece, and an interesting idea. Fits nicely with stuff I’ve been reading about metaphors in Lakoff and Johnson’s Metaphors We Live By. I find the piece a little incomplete in its discussion of the word cool, […]

xenomorph

An Ars Technica article from 2014 explains that the word “xenomorph” in Aliens is a generic term and not a specific name for that specific species. Commenters point out that the exhaustively argued conclusion that the article comes to is exactly what they had assumed to be true from watching the movie. Nonetheless, I admire […]