The Generalist

Category: Language

Total 25 Posts

Weekly Word: Autodidacticism

Ok, this one caught my attention on Wikipedia because of some of  the inane opinions on the Talk page. Now, never mind the conversion to an “ism” – as both autodidacticism and autodidactism are indeed words  – and with that I’d like to remind people that just because your spell-checker…

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Weekly Word: Polysemy

I just discovered this one a short time ago while working on an article about language. Here’s the definition based on the Wikipedia entry: Polysemy: the capacity for a sign, word, or phrase to have multiple related meanings. It is usually regarded as distinct from homonymy, in which the multiple…

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Weekly Word: Corollary

Yes, I know. My Weekly Words are sporadic. I’m working on that. Here’s one now: Corollary. A good one to follow up a priori, a corollary is a proposition that follows without any additional proof from one already proven. I think of it like this: If I can say therefore, it’s…

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What is Thwocking?

I watch a lot of TV. I know, I know… it rots your brain, right? Well, it certainly can, and the reasons behind that are two-fold. First, if you are a child, or the type of person who prefers not to reflect on things, you can be easily swayed to…

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Forward and Back

As I was working developing a website and blog for a friend’s business, something occurred to me. It was just a minor observation, but one that got me thinking and you might find it interesting. It is something that has probably, at least fleetingly, come to the mind of everyone…

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Great Quotes: Malo periculosam…

I’m currently reading “For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization” by Charles Adams and I happened to come across this quote, which seems rather appropriate for the times. Thomas Jefferson, an Anti-federalist, believed that (tax) rebellions every twenty years or so were “good medicine”…

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Doublespeak: Universe and Atom

The words universe and atom originally had very specific abstract meanings. Universe referred to “everything that exists” while atom referred to the “smallest indivisible constituent of matter” (from the Greek philosophy of Atomism).  Over time these abstractions became concrete in their meanings. As the science of physics progressed people came…

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Weekly Word: Polymath

A polymath is defined as a person of great or varied learning. The first person that comes to my mind when I hear this word is Ben Franklin – because the word evokes for me specifically a person who’s knowledge is both deep and varied – in essence a generalist….

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Weekly Word: Cataract

To many Americans the first thing that will come to mind when they hear this word is the cloudy object that sometimes develops in the eyes of older people and usually has to be removed. But there is another meaning for this word that you might not be so familiar…

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Foreign Book Spines

Ever noticed that a lot of non-American book publishers print their book spines upside down? Those of you who read books published by both American and foreign publishers may have noticed that many foreign book spines are upside down. No offense, but they ARE upside down. One would expect that…

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Weekly Word: Pince-nez

For years I had seen this particular word in print and never bothered to look it up. Basically, in French it means “pinch nose”. Makes sense, right? From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of Difficult Words: a pair of eyeglasses with a nose clip instead of ear pieces From A Passage to India…

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