Thursday, February 4, 2016

Eleven More Homophones You Didn't Know Existed

Back in December, I published one of my more popular posts, "Ten Homophones You Didn't Know Existed." There are certainly more than ten. And because I enjoy learning wonderful new ways to spell words I'm so used to pronouncing, I figured, why stop?

So here, then, are eleven more homophones you didn't know existed.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Silence of the Limns

There's this word limn that isn't exactly widely used, or even widely known, but somehow I've seen it used at least three times in the last week. If I believed in signs, I would take that as a sign that I should write about it.

And I'm going to write about it anyway.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Writing Prompt: Another Childhood Memory Reclaimed

I won't claim to understand in the slightest the whole bronies thing — adult men who follow My Little Ponies with more energy and spending money than its target audience of little girls. Now coloring books for adults are landing on best-seller lists. (I understand this more — the almost meditative act of filling in white space and the urge to create.)

That leaves me wondering, what's next?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Deadlines

The accepted story is that, in certain Confederate prison camps during the American Civil War, a line would be drawn around the prisoners' area. POWs who dared to pass beyond that line would risk being shot dead. Thus, the line came to be called the dead line.

Deadlines these days are moments in time, not in space.

A deadline is also the reason this post appears today and not yesterday, when I normally write about a word. Yesterday — well, all week, really — I was working against a deadline on a particularly frustrating and difficult freelance copy editing project. I finished it late last night but, truth be told, I did take a small step across that deadline.

So today, I am thankful not only that such an aggravating project is out of my hands, but that I haven't had me kneecaps shot off, either.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

New Word Thursday: apricity

The Midwest — my personal environs — experienced some of its first truly winter-like weather of the season this week, including snow, ice, school delays, and idiot drivers sliding off the road. One bright spark is that I was exposed to a pleasant word I didn't know: apricity.*

From the Latin word aprīcus, "warmed by the sun," apricity is a noun meaning "the warmth of the sun in winter." It's the type of hyper-specific word for a poetic concept that I just love to discover. It just sounds like a word that belongs in a Shakespearean sonnet.

Apricity led me on an exploration of other little-used winter-weather words, like psychrophile, chionoblepsia, and frigorific. I wrote about these an a gaggle of others yesterday on Copyediting.com in a post called "Underused Words for Winter Weather." Check it out.

Logophilius Central

* Thanks, Mom.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Word Thursday: pelf

Stemming from Old French and related to the word pilfer, pelf is filthy lucre or ill-gotten riches. I found it the other day when someone worked it into a limerick.

Naturally, I couldn't wait to try that myself:

A Christian man, godly and selfless,
Who was powerful, pious, and pelfless,
Lost the fans on his side
On the day that he tried
To make all of our Christmases elfless.

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Year, New Job, New Goals

I'm not a big fan of new year's resolutions. My go-to resolution, if people ask, is simply this: to not break my new year's resolution. I'm not sure whether that qualifies as tautological, paradoxical, or both, which is why I like it.

But this year, some things came together to make the start of the 2016 a true new beginning for me.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Freaky Thursday: geoduck

Geoduck sounds like the animated, waterfowl hero of a National Geographic children's show about environmentalism, or geology, or geography, or something.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Caroling + Warm Alcohol = Wassailing

I've been racking my brain for the last few days trying to think up some words that only pop up around Christmastime so that I can build a blog post around them. Caroling and wassailing came to mind, and I wrote a bit about them over at Copyediting.com.

Turns out that, in many cases, the only real difference between caroling and wassailing is how much alcohol the revelers imbibe.

But I still seem to be stuck. What other seasonal words am I forgetting? What Christmas words make you stop and think?


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ten Homophones You Didn't Know Existed

If you rely too much on those little squiggly red lines in Microsoft Word to correct your spelling for you, you've probably found yourself wondering how spellcheck missed a seemingly obvious error (and subsequently lowered your grade on a paper, caused you to get passed over for a promotion, or gave millions of Twitterers something to tease you about).

The problem may have been that your misspelling was actually a perfectly normal homophone, just one you didn't know existed. The following ten uncommon homophones might have caused a crack in your otherwise rock-solid plan for letting spellcheck be your proofreader.