Perhaps all this display of patriotism is a case of jingoism.

jingoism – Extreme nationalism characterized especially by a belligerent foreign policy; chauvinistic patriotism.(dictionary.com)

The derivation of jingoism is from 1878 and is the refrain of a music hall song written by G.W. Hunt supporting aggressive British policy toward Russia at a time of international tension. (“We don’t want to fight, But by Jingo! if we do, We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men, We’ve got the money too.”) (etymonline.com)


Crossword puzzlers know that there is a whole vocabulary of “crossword puzzle words.” You never hear these words in conversation. Here’s a word that was in a recent puzzle that could have been substituted by “ana,” “olio,” or “melange.” They all have slightly different meanings but basically mean a collection of things.

gallimaufry – A jumble or hodgepodge.


avast – a nautical interjection -Used as a command to stop or desist.

This is interesting, I think. This word is from Dutch; hou- hold, and vast meaning fast. To hold fast. It’s interesting to me because the Dutch were a great maritime power. I looked up “ahoy” figuring it would also have a Dutch root but I found no derivation listed.


Did you think that your umbrella is used for preventing rain from getting on your head? Not at all, an umbrella is used to provide shade as is demonstrated by today’s word.

umbra – from the Latin umbra meaning shade – A dark area, especially the blackest part of a shadow from which all light is cut off.


I just finished writing a long intro to my word for the day and then lost it by pushing the wrong key. Here’s the word without the intro.

paleolithic – adjective – pertaining to the Stone Age. From the Greek, paleo – old, ancient and lithic – stone


I have been so busy cleaning and entertaining that I haven’t had time to finish the Saturday NY Times puzzle or even start on Sunday. I’m almost done with Saturday, though, and here’s a word that was in the puzzle that I didn’t know.

plicate – adjective – Arranged in folds like those of a fan; pleated. (Dictionary.com)

So, the next time you are having a dinner party, make a plicate napkin.


This is a word that was in the NY Times crossword today. I’d heard it before but it was one of the words that I knew I knew but couldn’t come up with a defintion right away.

scrim – A durable, loosely woven cotton or linen fabric used for curtains or upholstery lining or in industry or
a transparent fabric used as a drop in the theater to create special effects of lights or atmosphere.

Well, this made me think about scrimshaw, the carving or etching of ivory. I looked up the derivation of both and the origin was unknown. Interesting.


What is the name for the person who is the mother of your daughter-in-law? Since I don’t know, I will call her my sister-mother-in-law or perhaps, my sister-mother. Anyway, Ryan’s mom, Rose, made a comment on my site suggesting that I look at yourdictionary.com. This is a cool site that will send you a word for the day and has puzzles using previous words for the day. So if you are interested in improving your vocabulary, this is a great site to explore. Today’s word on yourdictionary.com was lexicon.

My word for the day is –

stentorian (adj.) – very loud; as in “He spoke in a stentorian voice which could be heard in the most distant corners of the hall.”

What’s so interesting about this word is its derivation. Apparently, Stentor was in a shouting competition with Hermes and lost. So why isn’t “very loud,” hermesion? I guess Hermes was already in the lore, so they threw a sop to Stentor. In looking around the word, I found the word, stent, which is a slender thread, rod, or catheter inserted into a tubular structure, such as a blood vessel, to provide support. Same derivation wouldn’t you think? But no, stent is named for Charles R. Stent (1845-1901), an English dentist. Isn’t language interesting?


What was I thinking when I sent out the email suggesting to friends that they might want to read my blog. I think it was an extreme case of hubris.

hubris – very great pride and belief in your own importance. Greek derivation.


While hunting around the internet for good definitions and derivations for paradise (originally a walled garden) and monsoon (actually the wind that changes the seasonal weather in Asia not the rain), I found something totally different.

neologism – a new word, usage, or expression (dictionary.com)

In this website I happened upon, http://pages.zoom.co.uk/leveridge/dictionary.html, there were all sorts of interesting new words and other information. I found out that the # sign which we call a pound sign actually refers to weight such as in a 5# bag of potatoes. I always thought it was because you were supposed to hit it hard.