Archive for Words words words

Learning a new word: "munted"

In the category of positive coronavirus effects, there's a new word I recently learned: munted. The OED gives two glosses:

1. New Zealand and (less commonly) Australian. Ruined, spoiled; damaged; (of a person) extremely tired, exhausted.

2. British, Australian, and New Zealand. Intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.

The Macquarie Dictionary of Australian English has

adjective Colloquial 1. (of a thing) broken beyond repair: this bike is munted.

2. (of a person) not performing or functioning well, as a result of exhaustion, intoxication, etc.

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"Cash money": cool or dead or both?

According to Know Your Meme,

That Wasn't Very Cash Money of You is a catchphrase associated with a drawing of the character Sayaka Miki from Puella Magi Madoka Magica wearing sunglasses. The phrase uses "cash money" to mean "cool." The image was turned into an exploitable in which other characters say the phrase, and the phrase itself has been paired with images of other characters, usually wearing sunglasses.

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The OED 1989 edition glossed yid as "A (usu. offensive) name for a Jew."

The 2019 edition has

1. A Jewish person. In non-Jewish usage offensive and chiefly derogatory.

2. British. In extended use: a supporter of or player for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (traditionally associated with the Jewish community in north and east London). Originally and frequently derogatory and offensive, though also often as a self-designation.

Lynne Murphy, "The point of dictionaries is to describe how language is used, not to police it", The Guardian 2/17/2020:

Tottenham Hotspur has shown the yellow card to the Oxford English Dictionary for its new definitions of the words "yid" and "yiddo". While the dictionary records both words as usually offensive terms for Jewish people, it now also describes them as nicknames for Spurs supporters, noting that the fan-directed usage is "originally and frequently derogatory and offensive, though also often as a self-designation". The club has issued a statement saying that it has "never accommodated" use of the "Y-word", and considers the definition "misleading".

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The Op Notes for my gallbladder removal, a couple of weeks ago, included this sentence:

A 24-French Blake drain was then placed in the gallbladder fossa with a concern for duct of Luschka leak given the raw surface of the liver at the time of closure.

This led me to wonder who Blake was, and in what sense his drain had 24 Frenches, so I looked into it a bit.

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On the center

From Jonathan Falk:

When Wuhan is called the "epicenter" of the coronavirus outbreak, do people know that epicenter is a term borrowed from geology and is just a metaphor for what is in fact the "center" of an outbreak, or are they fooled by the "epi-" prefix to think it has something to do with "epidemic?"

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Topless meeting

From Nathan Hopson:

Can't believe I had never heard this marvelous Japanglish until now:

トップレス‐ミーティング(toppuresu mītingu = "topless meeting")or トップレス会議 (kaigi = meeting)

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"Dave Barry's Year in Review 2019"

… which begins with the federal government once again in the throes (whatever a "throe" is) of a partial shutdown, which threatens to seriously disrupt the lives of all Americans who receive paychecks from the federal government. 

Consulting the OED on throe (entry updated 2017), we learn that its orthographic history is interesting:

Of uncertain origin. Perhaps a variant or alteration of another lexical item. […]
The range of forms attested for this word is difficult to account for. […]
The current standard spelling throe […] is a 16th-cent. alteration of throw, throwe […] (compare with similar alteration the current forms of roe (earlier row , rowe ), hoe (earlier how , howe ), etc.), perhaps motivated by a desire to differentiate this word from throw.

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When I was skimming the transcript of the 12/19 Democratic presidential debate for "Warren vocal stereotypes", I noticed that several of the candidates started some of their answers to questions with "so". Among the dozen examples:

WOODRUFF: Senator Warren, why do you think — why do you think more Americans don't agree that this is the right thing to do? And what more can you say?
WARREN: So I see this as a constitutional moment.

WOODRUFF: Brief answers — brief responses from Mr. Steyer and Mr. Buttigieg.
STEYER: So let me say that I agree with Senator Warren in much of what she says.

WOODRUFF: Welcome back to the PBS NewsHour Democratic debate with Politico. And now it's time for closing statements. Each have 60 seconds, beginning with Mr. Steyer. […] Mayor Buttigieg?
BUTTIGIEG: So the nominee is going to have to do two things: defeat Donald Trump and unite the country as president.

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O.K. is rude

Caity Weaver, "Typing These Two Letters Will Scare Your Young Co-Workers: Everything was O.K. until you wrote 'O.K.'", NYT 11/21/2019, starts with a note from someone in Queens:

I am a Gen X-er who generally speaks proper English and am a "digital native." (Hey, kids: We built these tools that you claim as your own.) When I respond to a text or email with "O.K.," I mean just that: O.K. As in: I hear you, I understand, I agree, I will do that. If I reply with "K," I'm just being more informal.

However, I have been informed by my Millennial and Gen Z co-workers that the new thing I'm supposed to type is "kk." To write "O.K." or "K," they tell me, is to be passive-aggressive or imply that I would like the recipient to drop dead. To which I am tempted to respond, "Believe me, if I want you to drop dead … you'll know."

I find "kk" loathsome. Are my co-workers being overly sensitive, or am I not acknowledging the nuance of modern communication? I would really like to settle this debate once and for all. O.K.?

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Word rage and word aversion on Subtitle

The latest episode of the new podcast Subtitle is about "Words we love to hate". Full disclosure: Kavita Pillay interviewed me for the program, and so you can hear my voice from time to time.

More later — I'm off to Washington DC for a workshop on "Digital Cognitive and Functional Biomarkers" organized by the Alzheimer's Association.

Meanwhile, you can find links to some Language Log posts on word aversion in "Word aversion science", 6/24/2015, and posts about word rage in "Annals of word rage", 5/2/2009.


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"Butt dial" still waiting for its M-W word induction ceremony

The compound butt-dial, used as a verb meaning to call someone accidentally on a cell phone, or as a noun referring to such a call, is now commonplace enough to be used in the media without any scare quotes: "The butt-dial heard round the world"; "Giuliani butt dial story inspires ridicule, envy on social media" ("'Butt dial me,' one journalist said to Giuliani"); "Giuliani talks about needing cash in butt-dial to NBC News reporter"; "Guiliani Butt-Dials Reporter Not Once, But Twice".

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The challenging importance of spacing in Korean

Fascinating article from BLARB (Blog // Los Angeles Review of Books:

"Our Language Battle: Korea's Surprisingly Addictive Game Show of Vocabulary, Expressions, and Proper Spacing", by Colin Marshall (9/1/19)

This is the second paragraph of the article:

Having found myself living in the genuinely foreign country of Korea, I've lately also found myself watching Our Language Battle (우리말 겨루기), a game show that has aired every Monday evening on KBS since 2003. Though it occasionally invites celebrities, and this past July even brought on members of the National Assembly, it usually pits four everyday Koreans (or four teams of two, usually family) against each other in a test of their knowledge of the Korean language. It begins simply enough, with the contestants buzzing in to guess the words or phrases that fill in a crossword-style board, but soon the challenges get dramatically harder: separating folk spellings and regional variations from the officially standard, filling in words missing from old television and newspaper clips, and — most difficult of all, even for contestants who otherwise dominate the game — properly re-spacing a text whose words all run together.

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What root cause analysis engineers do

They root cause events, issues, and other problems, of course. Graham Rapier, "Tesla solar panels also caught fire on an Amazon warehouse, the retail giant said in the wake of Walmart's lawsuit", Business Insider 8/26/2019 :

"All 11 Amazon sites with solar from Tesla are generating energy and are proactively monitored and maintained," a Tesla representative told Business Insider. "Last year, there was an isolated event that occurred in an inverter at one of the Amazon sites. Tesla worked collaboratively with Amazon to root cause the event and remediate."

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