My favorite word is autumnal, and I must force myself to use it sparingly as the air cools and the trees shake off their green pigment to reveal the bright colors underneath. I like the earthy sound of the word, and I like the youthful images it conjures in my mind.
This month marks 50 years since President Johnson signed the Wilderness Act, establishing a “National Wilderness Preservation System for the permanent good of the whole people, and for other purposes” (Public Law 88-577 [PDF]).
I get such joy out of finding previously unknown wordhoards of various varieties and origins, so I was thrilled to find that James Harbeck has done 1,600 “word tasting notes” over six years and left them right under my nose.
Here is an office memo I have never seen, but would like to. I give you full permission to use it in your workplace:
Despite their popularity in the office this summer, especially among our new millennial associates and interns, please be advised that the wearing of thongs is not approved under the corporate dress code. Anyone wearing thongs will be asked to change into more suitable attire.
The 6.0 earthquake that hit the Napa Valley and destroyed some barrels of wine had a predictable aftereffect: the trotting out of the uncommon word temblor. Temblor is the favorite second-reference word among journalists for earthquake, and it seems to have little utility elsewhere.
I tweeted this bit of advice on the word, which is sometimes rendered incorrectly as tremblor (both tremble and temblor trace their roots to the Latin tremulus).
In the era of Facebook and Twitter we’re reposting all the time, so it’s no surprise a fellow editor would see someone refer to a clever repost instead of a clever riposte.
The word repost is a natural formation that goes back hundreds of years: To repost is simply to post again. Post, as in mail, referred originally to travel by relay of horses. But you could probably ask someone in the 17th century to repost a sign that fell down and you’d be understood.
We’ve gotten the phrase “God be with you” down to three letters over the years, with bye retaining the b from be and ye, the old plural pronoun. It’s unclear when we took the God out of goodbye, but we’ve been saying bye for at least 300 years.