Fun with Graphs


song chart memes

Now there’s a graph I can relate to!


Lumthuxious, and other missing words


I had the pleasure recently of sharing a brew or two with a group of colleagues, one of whom shares my deep abiding love of words. I’m not entirely certain how the topic came up, but he made me aware of the ongoing problem of missing words: words that should be in the dictionary, but aren’t.

For example, we’re all familiar with the words mileage, yardage, and footage. So what happened to inchage?

We all understand that overcast means clouds that appear overhead which block out your view of the sun. Doesn’t it follow, logically, that undercast should mean clouds that appear below, to block out your view of the earth (as when riding in an airplane)? The same argument could be made for overhang (underhang?)

Ken (the linguaphile to whom I referred in the first paragraph) has been successful in having one of our missing words added back into the dictionary. The commonly used word ruthless, (without pity or compassion; cruel; merciless) has it’s origin in the Middle English word reuthe (pity, compassion). The logical opposite of ruthless, which is ruthful, has disappeared entirely from use, unless the speaker/writer is being deliberately archaic. However, reuthe has been re-entered into Webster’s, after Ken made a call to a friend who is on the editorial staff.

Which brings us to lumthuxious (or lumthuksuous – the spelling is still open to debate). This is a word meaning extremely delicious. Ken made it up. He thinks it should be added to the dictionary – he’s a linguaphile, after all. We all want to get credit for coining a new word.



Despite anything my offspring might tell you to the contrary, I have never actually done anything like this (I just wish I did!).


H/T to Code Culture

Powers of Perception

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(Old) friend Frank from New Jersey (we went to grade school together!) sent me this puzzle, which I admit I failed to solve … but perhaps you’re smarter than I am!

Can you see what the following words have in common?


You will kick yourself when you discover the answer. Go back and look at them again; think hard. Then look below the fold for the answer.

I’m not responsible for this …



I know, this looks just like the sort of thing I’d do. Ask my kids. Heck, ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you, “Yep – that’s the kind of thing MG would do”. But it wasn’t me. Honest.


I learned something new today

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I occasionally read The Triangle Grammar Guide (because I’m just that weird); today I found this article and found out that I’ve been wrong about this for a long time:

Concrete thinking

One of our Home & Garden columnists reminded me recently of the difference between concrete and cement. Cement is the dry powder that is mixed with other things (water, sand, gravel) to make concrete, which is the hardened stuff used for sidewalks and some roads. Cement is only cement as long as it’s dry. Another way to think of it is that cement is to concrete as flour is to bread.

If you are interested [in] a more technical (and rather interesting) explanation, here is one from the WiseGeek.

I always thought that concrete was the generic term and that cement was a brand name, like Kleenex(tm) and Q-tip(tm) .

You learn something new every day.


Word of the Year

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pluto.jpgThe American Dialect Society announced last week that the Word of the Year: 2006 was plutoed.  To pluto is to demote or devalue someone or something, as happened to the former planet Pluto when the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto no longer met its definition of a planet.

snailmail.gifWhat I found enjoyable was a review of their Word of the Year picks for the past 17 years.  They’ve done an admirable job of picking out which new words were “Most likely to succeed” in becoming part of everyday language – including such now-common words as blog in 2002, snail-mail in 1992, and notebook PC in 1990.  Remember when those were  new words?  Yeah, just barely.  Seems like they’ve been around forever.

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