Tag Archives: Dictionary

Time For A Sort Out

21 Jun
Antony and Cleopatra

Image by UMTAD via Flickr

Straightening up my inbox, I discovered a pile of unanswered WordPress prompts.  I am determined to answer them all.  Eventually.

The picture is of my classroom, way back in 1982.



Write about your least favourite teacher.

I’ll call him Mr Handle, because his name was Lever.  I don’t want to use his real name because I have no wish to libel him, although I’m telling the truth.  If he’s still alive, he will be finding it hard to get a job and I don’t want to make things worse by telling you he was mean and snide and not as smart as he thought he was.

He was all of those things but the root cause of him being at the top of my Least Favourite Teacher list (or perhaps bottom of my Most Favourite Teacher list?) was that he got something wrong: I wrote an A Level English essay on Anthony and Cleopatra, in which I used the word ‘amoral’.  He marked me down because ‘there is no such word; only moral or immoral, stupid girl.’  He didn’t say that last bit but I knew he was thinking it.

I went away and checked a dictionary:



1. not involving questions of right or wrong; without moral quality; neither moral nor immoral.
2. having no moral standards, restraints, or principles; unaware of or indifferent to questions of right or wrong: a completely amoral person.
It’s from Dictionary.com because I can’t access the OED.  But here’s the important bit:
1880–85; a6 + moral

I hadn’t made it up or imagined it; it was a real word, older than me, older than my school, almost as old as him.  Sadly, I was eighteen and scared of everything, so I didn’t take my basic school dictionary and slap him around the head with it to prove him wrong.  

I’ve never forgiven him for that lost mark.  And I didn’t take My A Level English exam until sixteen years later.  That’ll teach him.



I’ve Learned A New Word

6 Dec
Sun and Ice Fog on Boot Lake

Image by EclecticBlogs via Flickr

Not a swear word, you’ll be glad to hear: 


If that’s not a fantastic word, then I don’t know what is.

It came from Dictionary.com: sign up for free and receive an email every day, giving you a new word.  I love Dictionary.com for two reasons: for all the new words I learn; and for all the words it sends me that I already know, so I can pretend I’m really smart that day.

Pogonip is defined as An ice fog that forms in the mountain valleys of the western U.S.  It’s from the Shoshone word for ‘thunder-fog’.  Don’t you love a language that even has the term ‘thunder-fog’?

If you like learning new words, check out my South Africa blog; today I talk about biltong and dorps.


You may recall a while back I promised you a photo of the most beautiful toddler in the world; well here it is:


Just for good measure, here’s one of him with his parents.  You can see he gets his good looks from his mother:

Daddy is the Hub’s nephew and also the perpetrator of many a joke against me, including a fart machine before they were popular, and telling me they had taken the word ‘gullible’ out of the dictionary.  I showed him my own dictionary but he pointed out that it was an old copy; I eventually believed him.  I have no defence, even if it was back in my what’s the internet? days; I guess I’m just…what’s the word?  Let me check Dictionary.com.

This photo is my revenge for his latest trick.  Do you remember my wooden leg post?  You may also remember I had a response from a Shirley Bumtruffle: he confessed the other day that she ’twas indeed he.  I suspected someone else altogether; he had me completely bumtruffled.


Word Of The Day

3 Mar

Being a word geek (and fast approaching dweeb proportions), I am on the mailing list of Dictionary.com, which sends me a Word of the Day.  I just have to share today’s word with you, because it’s fabulous:


\ih-ruhk-TAY-shuhn\, noun:
The act of belching; a belch.
Eructation comes from Latin eructatio, from eructare, from e-, “out” + ructare, “to belch.” 

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