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Etymology and Language > le mot juste

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message 1: by Maureen, mo-nemclature (last edited Mar 05, 2009 11:02PM) (new)

Maureen (modusa) | 683 comments Mod
lately brian's been teasing me about my predilection for pomp and circumstance in my prose, or in other words, for my ten-dollar word collection. i like the idea of 'le mot juste'(damn me and the french again): the perfect choice for the perfect connotation. then again, sometimes i just get into vogue with words. lately, it's been apt. for a while it was apropos, and my favourite latin word is appropinquat. so here's a thread for favourite words, or words you just think suit a sentence so perfectly, and why you like em, because then it isn't just a list thread. i remember everybody used to grumble about those. :)


message 2: by Patty, free birdeaucrat (new)

Patty | 896 comments Mod
my coworkers came up with a word the other day that i thought was brilliant. "dimish"


message 3: by Maureen, mo-nemclature (new)

Maureen (modusa) | 683 comments Mod
Patty wrote: "my coworkers came up with a word the other day that i thought was brilliant. "dimish" "

dimish? what does does dimish mean? and i am tempted to change the spelling of it to dimmish. :)


message 4: by Patty, free birdeaucrat (new)

Patty | 896 comments Mod
it's a diminished form of diminish. :)


message 5: by Kerry, flame-haired janeite (new)

Kerry Dunn (kerryanndunn) | 887 comments Mod
When I read The Great Gatsby I came across the word echolalia and now it's my new favorite word. It means the "the immediate and involuntary repetition of words or phrases just spoken by others" and is mainly used in psychiatry to describe symptoms of autism or schizophrenia but Fitzgerald used it while referring to guests chattering away at a party. I think it's pretty.


message 6: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
I don't know why, but I keep using the word fascinating these days.

Sometimes twice in one sentence.

I must be seeing the world with new eyes or something.


message 7: by Alan (new)

Alan Prevallet (steelydan) | 12 comments Kerry wrote: "When I read The Great Gatsby I came across the word echolalia and now it's my new favorite word. It means the "the immediate and involuntary repetition of words or phrases just spoken by others" a..."

I find myself doing that a lot, Kerry. Should I be worried? It is a beautiful word. Sounds like a flower or advanced gene-splicing technique.



message 8: by Alan (new)

Alan Prevallet (steelydan) | 12 comments Patty wrote: "it's a diminished form of diminish. :)"

My living/bed room is consistently dimmish due to my yellowish curtains interfering with the sun's diminishing rays.

My proposal for dimish- The act of snacking irresponsibly before a large feast.

In a sentence:
"Edward, please, you must not dimish again or I'm afraid yours will have to be the massive rump we roast this eve."



message 9: by Jennifer, hot tamale (new)

Jennifer | 141 comments Mod
Patty wrote: "it's a diminished form of diminish. :)"

i like it. dimish.

on a similar note i always wished that palindrome was a palindrome. not that i don't like the word, it just woulda been really cool.

the longest palindrome is saippuakuppinippukauppias, which is a soap cup dealer (finnish)


message 10: by Ben, uneasy in a position of power; a yorkshire pudding (new)

Ben Loory | 241 comments Mod
Jennifer wrote: i always wished that palindrome was a palindrome.

amen.




message 11: by Patty, free birdeaucrat (new)

Patty | 896 comments Mod
"the longest palindrome is saippuakuppinippukauppias"

how do you pronounce that?


message 12: by Brian, just a child's imagination (new)

Brian (banoo) | 346 comments Mod
Hangnail... easy enough word. But I learned while reading Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo this: Why is a hangnail called a hangnail? It's an alteration of agnail, which is Middle English, Eric happened to know, from Old English, with roots in torment and pain.

From Wikipedia: Agnail is the Middle English term meaning "corn." It comes from the Old English term angnægl (from ang- tight/painful + nægl- nail). Agnail was adapted to hangnail by a process of folk etymology.

Which only goes to prove, to me, that even simple words are complicated things.


message 13: by Michael, the Olddad (new)

Michael (olddad) | 255 comments Mod
Jennifer wrote: "Patty wrote: "it's a diminished form of diminish. :)"

i like it. dimish.

on a similar note i always wished that palindrome was a palindrome. not that i don't like the word, it just woulda b..."


Or that the concept of onomatopoeia sounded that way in your head.




message 14: by Michael, the Olddad (new)

Michael (olddad) | 255 comments Mod
OK, real question: I've asked this before in Fiction Files v1, Fiction File v2, and now I will ask it again here, now that we have survived our difficult voyage across the cyberocean and the Powers That Be have safely guided us to this new ripe continent.

A) If one uses "onomatopoeia" one can be accused of being "onomatopoetic". Can you think of any other words with a "poeia" suffix which have the same adjectival "poetic" construct?

B) OK, now the real question. If something is an oxymoron, one can claim it to be "oxymoronic". I will pay serious money to hear of other words with the same such "moron" suffix which generate similar "moronic" adjectives!

C) Which brings up the larger question: what, if they exist, are good tools for researching families of similar suffices? Prefix families show themselves alphabetically and are easily found out and do not fall far from the tree. The family lines of suffixed words, on the other hand, seem to hide from the lights of our legitimate etymology, and must necessarily then excite our curiousity.

mm
!!
mm




message 15: by Ben, uneasy in a position of power; a yorkshire pudding (new)

Ben Loory | 241 comments Mod
sometimes michael hurts my head.


message 16: by Kerry, flame-haired janeite (new)

Kerry Dunn (kerryanndunn) | 887 comments Mod
Me too Ben, me too.


message 17: by Michael, the Olddad (new)

Michael (olddad) | 255 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "OK, real question: I've asked this before in Fiction Files v1, Fiction File v2, and now I will ask it again here, now that we have survived our difficult voyage across the cyberocean and the Powers..."

Oh shit, I am really sorry about that. I was just trying to be funny. :(





message 18: by Michael, the Olddad (new)

Michael (olddad) | 255 comments Mod
Kerry wrote: "Me too Ben, me too."

Really sorry. :((



message 19: by Patty, free birdeaucrat (new)

Patty | 896 comments Mod
http://rhetoric.byu.edu/

they've got prosopopoeia, antiprosopopoeia, ethopoeia, pathopoeia

but nothing that ends with moron, sorry! awesome source for rhetorical terms, though.


message 20: by Patty, free birdeaucrat (new)

Patty | 896 comments Mod
oh and mm, i'm expecting you to use all of those in casual conversation at the dorka.


message 21: by Maureen, mo-nemclature (last edited Mar 08, 2009 11:03AM) (new)

Maureen (modusa) | 683 comments Mod
i love this whole thread except where michael felt badly. he may have felt dimished but i hope not. we loves you michael. speaking of loves you, i stole that from porgie and bess because it makes me happy to think of that song.

i was thinking earlier about the phrase "purple prose" without looking it up -- anybody have any idea as to how the term might have come into being?


message 22: by Ben, uneasy in a position of power; a yorkshire pudding (new)

Ben Loory | 241 comments Mod
i thought it was just from purple being the color of royalty and all that.


message 23: by Ben, uneasy in a position of power; a yorkshire pudding (new)

Ben Loory | 241 comments Mod
Michael wrote: A) If one uses "onomatopoeia" one can be accused of being "onomatopoetic". Can you think of any other words with a "poeia" suffix which have the same adjectival "poetic" construct?

i still can't stop thinking about this. all i get is mythopoetic, mythopoesis. but i'm not even sure those are words. i think they are. i think h.p. lovecraft wants them to be. so they are. the end.

my head still hurts.




message 24: by Michael, the Olddad (new)

Michael (olddad) | 255 comments Mod
Patty wrote: "http://rhetoric.byu.edu/

they've got prosopopoeia, antiprosopopoeia, ethopoeia, pathopoeia

but nothing that ends with moron, sorry! awesome source for rhetorical terms, though. "


This is my kind of site! The definition of ethopoeia simply boggles:

"The description and portrayal of a character (natural propensities, manners and affections, etc.). A kind of enargia. See the progymnasmata exercise "impersonation".

Makes one just want to run out and find a dictionary to define enargia (assuming, of course, one is on familiar terms with "progymnasmata".

Man this is like finding the valley where they are still speaking a near relative to the ancient greek.

BUT YET, we have still not found another moronic suffix. They are hiding somewhere, I can just feel it.

Thanks for the pointer to this site, Ms. Patty, and for saving my thin-skinned ego from further dimish.

mm




message 25: by Michael, the Olddad (new)

Michael (olddad) | 255 comments Mod
Patty wrote: "oh and mm, i'm expecting you to use all of those in casual conversation at the dorka. "

Lets try:

The ethopoetic slime that has been thrown on Lady Macbeth over the centuries has hardened into an admirable crust.

Limbaugh’s pathopoetic business model needs no tune-up at this late stage of the race.

If 15 minutes of fame is sufficient to drive our prosopopoetic economy, we can only imagine the strength of the antiprosopopoetic urge which drove the makers at Easter Island to their task.




message 26: by Kerry, flame-haired janeite (new)

Kerry Dunn (kerryanndunn) | 887 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "Kerry wrote: "Me too Ben, me too."

Really sorry. :((
"


Don't be sorry Michael! You can make my head hurt with your thoughts and tangents and brilliance any day!




message 27: by Lauren, Cream Cheese Angel (new)

Lauren Soderberg | 80 comments Mod
I think its great how if you say a word over and over again, it ceases to have meaning for that brief time and sounds completely fascinating.



message 28: by Christopher, Swanny (new)

Christopher Swann (christopherswann) | 189 comments Mod
Lauren wrote: "I think its great how if you say a word over and over again, it ceases to have meaning for that brief time and sounds completely fascinating.
"


Exactly. Like "the." I mean, look at it. THE. It looks like the name of some snide shoe salesman from ancient Greece.


message 29: by João (new)

João Camilo (jcamilo) | 259 comments Michael wrote: "Michael wrote: "OK, real question: I've asked this before in Fiction Files v1, Fiction File v2, and now I will ask it again here, now that we have survived our difficult voyage across the cyberocea..."

That is why two clowns cann't get lost in a labyrinth, the minotaur is always a bit closer...

That reminds me the old FF crusade against Jokes, mockery and all that cause pain that is not pain, but I will laugh anyways... Gogol is very funny.




message 30: by Michael, the Olddad (new)

Michael (olddad) | 255 comments Mod
Lauren wrote: "I think its great how if you say a word over and over again, it ceases to have meaning for that brief time and sounds completely fascinating.
"


I have that issue with the word "who". (This is probably why Pete Townsend named the band as he did.) First, it doesn't sound anything like it is spelled. It should be sounded "we-Hoe" (accent on the second syllable) I swear. But secondly, and I think this is the same root cause to Swanny's issues with the word "the", there is the brutal monosyllabicosity of it. One can drill a single syllable into one's head until it is meaningless so much easier than one can with even a two syllable word. Yathink? Yathink? Yathink? Yathink?






message 31: by Esther (new)

Esther | 83 comments Mod
Patty wrote: "http://rhetoric.byu.edu/

they've got prosopopoeia, antiprosopopoeia, ethopoeia, pathopoeia

but nothing that ends with moron, sorry! awesome source for rhetorical terms, though. "


Also mythopoeia according to the American Heritage Dictionary.

http://www.bartleby.com/61/56/M051560...

I also couldn't find anything else with -moronic, but in my search I found that sophomore might be an oxymoron...does that give me any points? :)

http://www.bartleby.com/61/66/S056660...

---

And this post reminds me of sitting in my History of the English Language class for two and a half hours a week trying to follow along as the prof. rattles on at supersonic speed.


message 32: by Michael, the Olddad (new)

Michael (olddad) | 255 comments Mod
Esther wrote: "Patty wrote: "http://rhetoric.byu.edu/

they've got prosopopoeia, antiprosopopoeia, ethopoeia, pathopoeia

but nothing that ends with moron, sorry! awesome source for rhetorical terms, though. "

..."



Thanks for the assistance Ester. These two suffix related questions have been plaguing me for years. It does sound like we have found some "poeia" kin, but it really intrigues me that we can find no "moron" relatives. Interesting...I wonder if they died off like homo neanderthalenis? Homo moronicus?

Since posting the original question, though, I have finally lost all shame and begun to coin words at will to suit my own personapoeia – maybe “personapoetic instinct”. For example in another thread I called the poetic justice of Marytn’s return to the group “kismetipoeia”. There is a lot of potential here.

As for “moron”, for an example: early moronic behavior, not of the homo moronicus variety, but say acting too partied up too early in the evening, say before 11:00 PM, could be termed paleomoronic? Or maybe, “common behavior” could be the work of a stereomoron? Again, a lot of potential here.

;)

Cheers,
mm



message 33: by Esther (new)

Esther | 83 comments Mod
Speaking of le mot juste...when I was in high school my friend argued that a pen was a writing implement, not an instrument or utensil (and she was very forceful whenever she corrected someone about it). Searching last night for the answers to Michael's question I couldn't stop myself from looking up the two.

Seems instrument, implement, utensil, and even appliance are synonyms of "tool" which, according to the Am. Heritage Dictionary are "devices used in the performance of work." It goes on to say:

Tool applies broadly to a device that facilitates work; specifically it denotes a small manually operated device.
Instrument refers especially to a relatively small precision tool used by trained professionals.
Implement is the preferred term for tools used in agriculture and certain building trades.
Utensil often refers to an implement used in a household, especially in the kitchen.
Appliance most frequently denotes a power-driven device that performs a specific function.


So which is a pen or pencil? It could be argued that pens and pencils are used in the building trade to make marks on wood and such before cutting. (Measure twice, cut once!) I'm leaning more toward instrument because it is a relatively small tool (similar in size to the scalpel they use in their example) and, in my estimation, it should only be wielded by a trained professional. (PFL anyone?) But I'm wondering if it's not just best to use "tool" when talking about a pen/pencil. Maybe it depends on HOW the pen/pencil is being used...

Okay...I'm done.


message 34: by Lauren, Cream Cheese Angel (new)

Lauren Soderberg | 80 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "Lauren wrote: "I think its great how if you say a word over and over again, it ceases to have meaning for that brief time and sounds completely fascinating.
"

I have that issue with the word "w..."


Thanks Michael. I've been sitting here for the last few minutes repeating the word "monosyllabicosity" to myself and now I'm all flabbergasted.


message 35: by Dan, deadpan man (new)

Dan | 641 comments Mod
I came across a word with the -poeia suffix when reading the Infinite Jest (somewhere before page 150). I got caught up in the story and now I cannot find the word. I paged around the book looking for it and then tried googling to find it on an IJ word list to no avail.



message 36: by Jennifer, hot tamale (last edited Mar 19, 2009 11:52AM) (new)

Jennifer | 141 comments Mod
Patty wrote: "http://rhetoric.byu.edu/

they've got prosopopoeia, antiprosopopoeia, ethopoeia, pathopoeia

but nothing that ends with moron, sorry! awesome source for rhetorical terms, though. "

Also mythopoeia according to the American Heritage Dictionary.

http://www.bartleby.com/61/56/M0515600.h...

I also couldn't find anything else with -moronic, but in my search I found that sophomore might be an oxymoron...does that give me any points? :)

http://www.bartleby.com/61/66/S0566600.h...

---
Esther wrote:

And this post reminds me of sitting in my History of the English Language class for two and a half hours a week trying to follow along as the prof. rattles on at supersonic speed.

------

i took that course! i loved it. did you translate beowulf into modern english?






message 37: by Esther (new)

Esther | 83 comments Mod
Nope.

I love the class...just hate sitting still for 2 and a half hours in the most uncomfortable chairs...my brain tunes in and out no matter how hard I try to focus. Two and a half hours of concentration without a break is just too intense...especially at 7pm when I've already worked a full day and had two other classes.

Wow...sorry to rant. *lol*


message 38: by Ry (new)

Ry (downeyr) | 173 comments Kerry wrote: "When I read The Great Gatsby I came across the word echolalia and now it's my new favorite word. It means the "the immediate and involuntary repetition of words or phrases just spoken by others" a..."

I think it's more than pretty--it's perfect. Especially for the context in which its used. I'm also reminded of an episode of "Daria" where an old guy talks about why he charges so much for his cookies and he says, "It's not what you put into the cookies, it's about what you put IN to the cookies. Understand?" and Jane Lane replies, "Oh, I get it. You're saying you have echolalia, echolalia." :) I laughed many laughs.




message 39: by Maureen, mo-nemclature (last edited Mar 26, 2009 08:23PM) (new)

Maureen (modusa) | 683 comments Mod
i was just lying here thinking about that thread where hugh and shel were talking about really on the nose writing, and i was remembering a poem i wrote once called "sink the arrow" -- which i actually love because it's so very on the nose and i think the archness (oh there i go again) shows through. it starts, "i grow taut as the bow string" and i realized how dirty i think the word taut is. not tot of course. tot is not dirty at all, except in a literal sense, sometimes, in a sandbox. but taut? oh my. i think when i have money again i'm going to copyright this phrase "that's taut"! people will start using it and paying me 5 dollars every time they use it. "that's hot!" and the ever-annoying "loves it!" (too similar to my appropriated porgie and bess "i loves you" to make me feel comfortable) will disappear and i will be sitting on a fat pack of money. :)

all thanks to the dirty word taut. anybody else got some evocative words?


message 40: by Brian, just a child's imagination (new)

Brian (banoo) | 346 comments Mod
i always found the word nectar very sensual but then i eat bugs what do i know?

i oft times wonder why some words are just so appropriate. vomit is one such word. it just sounds disgusting. 'om' by itself is ok, such as in the word bomb. i think it's the harsh ending of 'it' that gives it its (ha) nastiness because the word Amish sounds cool to me. the 'sh' sound tones it down... but shit, i'm just thinking out loud.

cheese is another... it's the perfect sound for a waxy protein mass made from animal secretions.


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

James Joyce is usually credited with saying that "cuspidor" is the most beautiful word in English. (It's all over Google, but I didn't even try to find a source.) You'd think it must be something elegant, which I reckon a spittoon could be. Some of 'em are right purty, at that.

Cuspidor, O silver cuspidor,
How I adore thee, silver cuspidor ...


"Mesmerize" is a mesmerizing word.

There's a funny scene in Erica Jong's Fear of Flying when the protagonist recalls a boy's infatuation with the phrase "paroxysm of passion."



message 42: by Matt, e-monk (new)

Matt Comito | 386 comments Mod
awkward is awkward


message 43: by Michael, the Olddad (new)

Michael (olddad) | 255 comments Mod
I have always been a fan of cumulonimbus. This is one raging mother of a thunderstorm, but the word itself connotes a curvaceous, pillowy, womanliness to me; something I’d like to nestle up between, but still implying a feminine power and elan.

But this is probably just the choirboy in me; I just grew up loving the Latin and its unparalleled vowelsomeness. Cu-mu-lo-nim-bus ex-al-ta-te. I could just sing it.

mm


message 44: by Esther (new)

Esther | 83 comments Mod
I love finding great words and/or phrases while I'm traveling. Last weekend we traveled over the "Tappan Zee Bridge" in New York, which made me giggle like a little schoolgirl.

My husband and I have fun with phrases, phrases that used to be "in" but aren't so much anymore...then we get tired of them and leave it behind. Our favorite right now? "Bump that!" I just love how it sounds!


message 45: by Matt, e-monk (new)

Matt Comito | 386 comments Mod
that's Brom Bones territory


message 46: by Bonita (last edited Mar 28, 2009 01:20PM) (new)

Bonita (NMBonita) | 120 comments I will always love the word perturbed. [Middle English perturben, from Old French perturber, from Latin perturbre : per-, per- + turbre, to throw into disorder (from turba, confusion, perhaps from Greek turb).]

The opposite of relaxed, the perfect description for my Nazi cat, Gretchen. Constantly on edge, a sniper with night vision, she investigates every movement. Even in her sleep she aggressively flicks her tail, annoyed by those who disagree with her tuxedo cat regime.

[image error]

(The mustache is real. The arm band is not.)

Photobucket


message 47: by Esther (new)

Esther | 83 comments Mod
Okay, that cat's mustache is hilarious!

My son was reading Robert Browning with me tonight (my 6 year old is brilliant, I just realized) and I just had to note another strange word - cloister. Such serious word, but it sounds so silly.


message 48: by Patrick, photographic eye (new)

Patrick | 133 comments Mod
Maureen wrote: "and i realized how dirty i think the word taut is. not tot of course. tot is not dirty at all, except in a literal sense, sometimes, in a sandbox. but taut? oh my. i think when i have money again i'm going to copyright this phrase "that's taut"!"

wasn't there a cheap trick song, "she's taut".


message 49: by Maureen, mo-nemclature (new)

Maureen (modusa) | 683 comments Mod
Slowrabbit wrote: "wasn't there a cheap trick song, "she's taut".."

i hope not, or there could be a copyright battle on my hands in the distant future. i just re-read this thread and enjoyed it all over again. thanks for reminding me it existed, patrick. :)

and in other word fun: i want to bolster my love for the word:

retrocity: a retro item that is an atrocity

also, the buxton family (as close as i can get to a family of my own) has been adding "bro" to everything. they now say "bro my god!" or for short, "bro M G", and are quite pleased with themselves. :)


message 50: by Danielle (new)

Danielle (daniellebooth) | 9 comments Michael wrote: "B) OK, now the real question. If something is an oxymoron, one can claim it to be "oxymoronic". I will pay serious money to hear of other words with the same such "moron" suffix which generate similar "moronic" adjectives! "

Sophomore is an oxymoron. Wise fool, indeed.
I've been attempting to define the meaning of the brief phrase "as such," which is used insensibly in philosophical circles. It is not just filler--it DOES mean something--but...what?

Hello, btw. :)


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