18 December 2008


The effulgent sanctuary of the University Closure is rapidly approaching.

adj. Shining brilliantly; resplendent. See Synonyms at bright.

[Latin effulgēns, effulgent-, present participle of effulgēre, to shine out : ex-, ex- + fulgēre, to shine; see bhel-1 in Indo-European roots.]
(American Heritage)

"Effulgent rays of light." --Cowper.

OK a serious usage of effulgent:
It is a rare day in Arizona that there are no effulgent rays of light.

17 December 2008


Would tasseomancy be considered more or less scientific than astrology?

[;-) JC, you know I don't love you less -- and perhaps more -- because you are interested in astrology.]

Tasseography (also known as tasseomancy or tassology) is a divination or fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds, or wine sediments.

The terms derive from the French word tasse (cup), which in turn derives from the Arabic tassa (cup), and the Greek suffixes -graph, -logy, and -mancy (divination).


We love obscure words that we can use to confound others. *evil, self-aggrandizing laugh echoes hollowly in mad business manager's office* OK. Really how often can one use such words that you read in historical novels.

16 December 2008


When my parents' arrival in town is imminent, worries about solecisms move to the forefront of my mind (and possibly, my sister's though she says she doesn't care).

That is not to say that I don't enjoy either noticing or pointing out the solecisms others utter.

  1. A nonstandard usage or grammatical construction.
  2. A violation of etiquette.
  3. An impropriety, mistake, or incongruity.

[Latin soloecismus, from Greek soloikismos, from soloikizein, to speak incorrectly, from soloikos, speaking incorrectly, after Soloi (Soli), an Athenian colony in Cilicia where a dialect regarded as substandard was spoken.]
(American Heritage)

15 December 2008


In a pugnacious (not a characteristic typically associated with her) tone of voice, Anne stated that if the Dean's office was closing early we would, too.

DEF: adj. Combative in nature; belligerent. See Synonyms at belligerent.

[From Latin pugnāx, pugnāc-, from pugnāre, to fight, from pugnus, fist; see peuk- in Indo-European roots.]
pug·na'cious·ly adv., pug·na'cious·ness, pug·nac'i·ty (-nās'ĭ-tē) n.

CMES staff meeting re: holiday break

12 December 2008


Angela asked the meaning of my email address "duyen_hn" and I told her that Duyen is my Vietnamese name, hn is for Hanoi. Duyen means charming and insouciant.

Part of Speech: adj
Definition: unconcerned, undisturbed; carefree and nonchalant
Etymology: Latin in- + soucier 'to disturb'
(Webster's Millenial)

11 December 2008


Bureaucracy by design is obstructionist not facilitative. We need to keep that in mind when dealing with one.

n. One who systematically blocks or interrupts a process, especially one who attempts to impede passage of legislation by the use of delaying tactics, such as a filibuster.
(American Heritage)

My job.

10 December 2008


At times, the University bureaucracy creates occlusions rather than mere obstacles.

–verb (used with object)
1. to close, shut, or stop up (a passage, opening, etc.).
2. to shut in, out, or off.
3. Physical Chemistry. (of certain metals and other solids) to incorporate (gases and other foreign substances), as by absorption or adsorption.

09 December 2008


Officiousness is the frequent refuge of middle management. It gives me a rash.

  1. Marked by excessive eagerness in offering unwanted services or advice to others: an officious host; officious attention.
  2. Informal; unofficial.
  3. Archaic Eager to render services or help others.
[Latin officiōsus, obliging, dutiful, from officium, duty; see office.]

(American Heritage)

Usage: Impertinent, Officious, Rude. A person is officious who obtrudes his offices or assistance where they are not needed; he is impertinent when he intermeddles in things with which he has no concern. The former shows a want of tact, the latter a want of breeding, or, more commonly, a spirit of sheer impudence. A person is rude when he violates the proprieties of social life either from ignorance or wantonness. "An impertinent man will ask questions for the mere grafication of curiosity; a rude man will burst into the room of another, or push against his person, inviolant of all decorum; one who is officious is quite as unfortunate as he is troublesome; when he strives to serve, he has the misfortune to annoy." --Crabb. See Impudence, and Insolent.

(Webster's Unabridged)

Thanks to the boss of the boss of CMES' cleaner who asked "Has anyone shared with you that bicycles are not allowed in the building?"

08 December 2008


Today's last minute effort reporting reminded me that I am glad that a certain vindictive person no longer makes an "effort" here.

  1. Disposed to seek revenge; revengeful.
  2. Marked by or resulting from a desire to hurt; spiteful.
(American Heritage)

04 December 2008


The recalcitrance of the numerous reports overdue to Financial Services is making me despair that I will ever be free of their overdue-ness.

recalcitrant - adj. Marked by stubborn resistance to and defiance of authority or guidance. See Synonyms at unruly.
n. A recalcitrant person.

[Late Latin recalcitrāns, recalcitrant-, present participle of recalcitrāre, to be disobedient, from Latin, to deny access : re-, re- + calcitrāre, to kick (from calx, calc-, heel).]
re·cal'ci·trance, re·cal'ci·tran·cy n.
(American Heritage)

03 December 2008


This is the time of year, when students (and perhaps others) need to quell feelings of panic.

  1. To put down forcibly; suppress: Police quelled the riot.
  2. To pacify; quiet: finally quelled the children's fears.
(American Heritage)

02 December 2008


NPR considers one of the storylines of Vikram Chandra's book "Sacred Games" to be prescient in light of the Mumbai bombings.

  1. Of or relating to prescience.
  2. Possessing prescience.
(American Heritage Dictionary)

FYI: I prefer the pronunciation of prěsh-ē-ənt.

01 December 2008


There are times when I think I am chaffing people, but to others it comes off more harshly than intended.

To make fun of in a good-natured way; tease.
v. intr.
To engage in playful teasing. See Synonyms at banter.
n. Good-natured teasing; banter.
(American Heritage)

26 November 2008


Pretty much the only place on sees antimacassars is in a "grandma's" house.

a small covering, usually ornamental, placed on the backs and arms of upholstered furniture to prevent wear or soiling; a tidy.

1850–55; anti- + Macassar ([hair] oil )
(Random House)

25 November 2008


Finishing a dreaded but necessary report assuages the disgruntlement -- at least until the next one.

  1. To make (something burdensome or painful) less intense or severe: assuage her grief. See Synonyms at relieve.
  2. To satisfy or appease (hunger or thirst, for example).
  3. To pacify or calm: assuage their chronic insecurity.
(American Heritage)

24 November 2008


When you can no longer feel aggrieved, the feeling settles for being disgruntled. grrr!

displeased and discontented; sulky; peevish: Her disgruntled husband refused to join us.

21 November 2008


[I promised two words, so here they are.]

I would like to say that if you wanted to get creative with "Surrey with the fringe on top", you could substitute fascicles for fringe but strictly speaking fringe does not have to be like fascicles.

A small bundle.
One of the parts of a book published in separate sections. Also called fascicule.
Botany A bundle or cluster of stems, flowers, or leaves.
(American Heritage)

Many of the extreme absurdities in "Grey's Anatomy" made me want to caterwaul. To the relief of all present, I refrained.

To cry or screech like a cat in heat.
To make a shrill, discordant sound.
To have a noisy argument.
(American Heritage)

20 November 2008


In some ways it is delicious to feel aggrieved by one's boss.


When someone does me wrong, I enjoy remembering the appropriate word for what I am feeling is aggrieved. The sound perfectly describes the feeling.

Feeling distress or affliction.
Treated wrongly; offended.
Law Treated unjustly, as by denial of or infringement upon one's legal rights.
(American Heritage)

18 November 2008


Not only was the Mikado a sparkling and lavish comedy, but it was also full of the mellifluous.

  1. Flowing with sweetness or honey.
  2. Smooth and sweet: "polite and cordial, with a mellifluous, well-educated voice" (H.W. Crocker III).

17 November 2008


Did you know that the Mikado is "a sparkling and lavish comedy?"

  1. Characterized by or produced with extravagance and profusion: a lavish buffet.
  2. Immoderate in giving or bestowing; unstinting: The critics were lavish with their praise.

13 November 2008


A leader can be hampered in their goals by choosing the wrong person to implement them.

1. to hold back; hinder; impede: A steady rain hampered the progress of the work.
2. to interfere with; curtail: The dancers' movements were hampered by their elaborate costumes.
(Random House Unabridged)

12 November 2008


We have had qualms about collaborating with others in sponsoring events; it always seems to be a more vexing exercise than a productive one.

  1. A sudden feeling of sickness, faintness, or nausea.
  2. A sudden disturbing feeling: qualms of homesickness.
  3. An uneasy feeling about the propriety or rightness of a course of action.
(American Heritage)

10 November 2008


Despite its slightly chaotic nature, I cannot find an encomium to do justice to the All Souls' Procession.

DEF: Warm or high praise; panegyric; strong commendation. (Webster's Unabridged)

06 November 2008


Does insisting that Yemen is not a Gulf country make you a pedant or merely concerned with accuracy?

  1. One who pays undue attention to book learning and formal rules.
  2. One who exhibits one's learning or scholarship ostentatiously.
  3. Obsolete A schoolmaster.
(American Heritage)

05 November 2008


Barack Obama and the Democrats have foiled the Republicans -- for the moment.

  1. To prevent from being successful; thwart.
  2. To obscure or confuse (a trail or scent) so as to evade pursuers.
(American Heritage)

04 November 2008


Sorry for being such a sluggard about the word of the day. So, today you will get two words for the price of one.

After months of being inundated with news about the Presidential election, will we feel relief tomorrow or an emptiness?

  1. To cover with water, especially floodwaters.
  2. To overwhelm as if with a flood; swamp: The theater was inundated with requests for tickets.
(American Heritage)

Sluggard DEF: n. A slothful person; an idler.
adj. Lazy. (American Heritage)

At least, you cannot say that you have been inundated with postings.

28 October 2008


The bail-out package makes me wonder if there is some kind of havey-cavey business going on.

DEF: suspicious goings-on (19th century slang)

23 October 2008


After entering the putrid alley Allison once again wished she were anosmic.

DEF: anosmia n. Loss of the sense of smell. anosmic adj. (American Heritage)

22 October 2008


Much vituperation has been aimed at the Provost's office since its sneak sweep of state personnel funds that "accidentally" took non-state funds as well.

  1. The act or an instance of vituperating; abusive censure.
  2. Sustained, harshly abusive language; invective.
(American Heritage)

21 October 2008


Thanks to Tom Miller, I am now able to use today's word.

I was unsure how I would recognize a panjandrum until I attended yesterday's meeting; as the meeting progressed it quickly became clear that there was one panjandrum in attendance.

DEF: a self-important or pretentious official.(dictionary.com)

Etymology of panjandrum: mock name for a pompous personage, 1755, invented by Samuel Foote (1720-77) to test the memory of actor old Macklin (who said he could repeat anything after hearing it once) in a long passage full of nonsense.

20 October 2008


In these times of "Transformation," there is no way to obviate the treachery of the Hatchetwoman and her Henchmen.

DEF: To anticipate and dispose of effectively; render unnecessary.

16 October 2008


After posting his support for Obama on his blog, Christopher Buckley said that he had been effectively fatwa'd by the conservative movement into resigning from "The National Review."

DEF: A legal opinion or ruling issued by an Islamic scholar. (American Heritage)

note: non-traditional usage of fatwa

15 October 2008


Our resident Iraqi oracle prophesied the balkanization of Iraq.

DEF:To divide (a region or territory) into small, often hostile units.
(American Heritage)

14 October 2008


In trying to prepare the report, I have been aggravated by the recalcitrance of the data.

DEF:1. resisting authority or control; not obedient or compliant; refractory.
2. hard to deal with, manage, or operate.

13 October 2008


Many have been overheard fulminating against "our" chaotic Transformation.

DEF: 1. To issue a thunderous verbal attack or denunciation: fulminated
against political chicanery.
2. To explode or detonate.
(American Heritage)

06 October 2008


Thursday's town hall meeting was the epitome of how to dissimulate without imparting any real information whatsoever.

DEF: to disguise or conceal under a false appearance


The other day I wondered "Why is there not the systematic teaching of onomatopoeia in English as there is in Japanese?"

definition: the formation of a word, as cuckoo or boom, by imitation of a sound

made by or associated with its referent

02 October 2008


After the Transformation, we will soon -- no doubt -- have a splendiferous new

Word of the Day - 30 September, 2008


I was stymied by that missing penny for several hours.

The first official word of the day posting -- 29 September, 2008


Prurient incongruities almost prevented "Red Heroine" from vanquishing the Generalissimo!