Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Neglect and Excuses and ACES 2016

I have been neglectful of this blog lately. Just how neglectful wasn’t apparent until I pulled open the blog this morning. Has it really been almost a month since I posted?

Fortunately, I have a great excuse: I’ve been very busy. Freelance work has been rolling steadily in, and when combined with my nine-to-five (well, eight-to-six) job, I haven’t had much time to write for myself. Or to do much of anything, really. (But I have continued to post at

And there's other good news, for me anyway. I am now entering what has consistently been the high point of my year: the annual conference of the American Copy Editors Society. Three days in Portland, Oregon, with more than five hundred editors, lexicographers, linguists, and logophiles.

These are my people.

This is my fourth ACES conference. Last year, I came in third place in the spelling bee fundraiser. This year, I plan to win. 

Which probably means you’ll see a post this weekend all about the word that knocked me out of the competition.

---UPDATE: I was surprised, shocked, and above all dismayed to discover, when I checked in at the conference, that all the spots in the spelling bee had already been taken. Hmph.---
Regardless, I’m sure I’ll have a lot of interesting things to share once this conference is over. 

But if you just can’t wait, follow the hashtag #ACES2016 on Twitter for the next three days to see what we’re learning, what we’re eating, and which horrible jokes make the rounds.

And for those of you who are attending ACES 2016, especially if we’ve never met before, come find me!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

New Word Thursday: jactancy

From the Latin jacere, to throw — the same source from which we get both eject and ejaculate — the noun jactancy means bragging or boasting.

This is one of those words that has more forms than it needs. Other attested noun forms are jactance, jactation, and jactitation, the last two of which can also refer to a shaking or tossing of the body, in a medical sense. One who boasts or spasms (or, I suppose, both) jactitates.