The Generalist

Tag: Weekly Word

Total 17 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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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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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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Weekly Word: Steppe

From The Free Dictionary: A vast semiarid grass-covered plain, as found in southeast Europe, Siberia, and central North America. I wanted to do this word because, quite frankly, though I have had a number of ecology classes over the years, I never really felt like I grasped the meaning. Numerous…

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Weekly Word: Mallard

Ok, someone recently asked me about this, so I decided a Weekly Word on it might not be a bad idea. A mallard is a species of duck, specifically Anas platyrhynchos. It is the most common species of duck and tends to live in close proximity to man, so if you’ve…

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Weekly Word: Bureaucracy

We have all heard the word, but do we really know what it means? It certainly has a negative connotation, but for me this word was a little fuzzy – so I looked it up in my trusty Dictionary of Difficult Words. Here is what I think is the typical…

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Weekly Word: Condominium

Most people will be familiar with definition #1 of this word (from The Free Online Dictionary:): a. A building or complex in which units of property, such as apartments, are owned by individuals and common parts of the property, such as the grounds and building structure, are owned jointly by…

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Weekly Word: Paling

From The Free Online Dictionary: One of a row of upright pointed sticks forming a fence; a pale. Pointed sticks used in making fences; pales. A fence made of pales or pickets. From Asimov’s Chronology of the World: The English established themselves at first only about the area of Dublin….

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