a herd of horses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
To people who ask, “What is a group of [insert animals/occupations here] called?”, terms of venery are the collective nouns used to describe a grouping of like items.
While I am familiar with a pride of lions, a murder of crows, a herd of horses, a host of angels, a nest of vipers, a quiver of arrows, and a gaggle of geese, there are more that I was not familiar with, and are apropos or simply curious (understanding the etymology would be very helpful!) Here are a few of my favourites.
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If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any language you don’t currently speak, which would it be, and why? What’s the first thing you do with your new linguistic skills?
Language is a touchstone of culture, place, and connectivity. We revert to our native tongue when we are emotional, have the desire to confide secrets and innermost feelings, often to a family member who speaks the same variant, or build rapport with a stranger who might happen to be a fellow speaker.
Speaking one’s mother tongue takes us home, wherever in the world we may physically be. Language recalls elements of our culture: food, relationships, heroes Continue reading →
This post was done as an answer to a challenge from one of my fellow bloggers. 🙂 Here are eight words and/or phrases that sound <ahem> inappropriate for polite society, but actually aren’t.
Bluetooth dongle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. DONGLE | From the computing industry, we have the suggestive sounding dongle, an often small or compact attachment that connects to a laptop, desktop PC, or even a gaming console via an onboard port to extend system functionality, usually by enabling speed and/or networking enhancements (and from the same industry, ‘male-to-male’, ‘male-to-female’, ‘female-to-male’ and ‘female-to-female’ are used to describe cable-to-cable connections, and ‘dirty heads’ refer to disk drive actuator heads that have gotten dust or other foreign particles on them).
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I need another hemisphere for these words
Snowclone, mockumentary, retcon, geobragging, Tweet cred, staycation. So many new words have joined the English dictionary within the last ten years. Such a mass proliferation is due to social media, pop culture, technological advances and manufacturers, which have given concurrent rise to new descriptive categories of metawords. It’s not enough to know your nouns, gerunds, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, articles, conditional clauses, and past participles anymore; even today’s non-linguist must understand the “electives” of neologisms (crowdsourcing, muffin top), portmanteaus (bootylicious, mockumentary), hyphenates (photobombing), memes (honey badger, earworm), phonological words (fanfreakingtastic), and generonyms (Band-Aid, elevator), too. It’s an extended course curriculum that sets my head abuzz.
So many existing nouns have been repurposed into verbs. To say nothing of trademarked brand names that have, much to the annoyance of their respective manufacturers, have fallen into the public domain and become common verbiage. To Google means to look something up online. To Tweet means to give your two cents online. To Xerox means to make a hardcopy facsimile of a document. Hand me that Kleenex, because facial tissue is too long (and boring) to say. Let’s not even julienne follicles with split infinitives, either (“to boldly go where no one has gone before”).
Wanna sound smart? There’s no better way to demonstrate your knowledge of the latest additions by using one (or two) of the titled nouns in a sentence. Check for another 100 or so neologisms to join your favourite dictionary in the new year, because society and technology do drive vocabulary.
my OH is adorbs
We have the popularity of social media platforms like Twitter, FaceBook, Google+ , Pinterest and MySpace (just to name a few) to thank for adding new words to the ever so nimble and accommodating English language. Making its debut as my new social media ‘it’ word is PHOTOBOMBING, which I define as the act of sabotaging a photo by stealth or overt appearance that is a complete 360 from the overriding tone of the photograph. Most successfully executed by members of the furred races (notably, but not limited to, dogs and cats).In addition to more famously known ones like tweeting, sexting and (to) Google, here are some of my personal favorites, and not all are atrocious abbreviations; some are hyphenates and others are simply genius.
|Hat tip: kudos to someone who has brought a piece of info to the writer’s attention, or provided inspiration for a piece of writing (as per the Oxford Dictionary). Nice play on hat trick.
||OH: abbreviation for other half, aka wife, husband, partner (as per the Oxford Dictionary). The gender neutral form of endearment. Good to use when you’re in the dog house.
||Polterheist: a robbery done by ghostly figures. Spooky but smart. Thanks to authoress Laura Resnick for originating that one in her Esther Diamond novels!
||Soul patch: a small tuft of facial hair directly below a man’s lower lip (as per the Oxford Dictionary). I know someone with one. Ironically, he looks to be the epitome of soullessness. 🙂
I am not a Tweep though. Can’t understand the importance of staying up to the second with, nor does my existence hinge upon, the latest two cents from celebs, when checking my email inbox and voicemail 3-5 times a day is plenty. 🙂