Tag: Word of the Month

Word of the Month: Emplacement

  David Zapatka While watching the last two episodes of The Expanse, I heard significant dialogue about the rail guns being used by Marcos Inaros, the leader of the Belters’ Free Navy, who was intent on destroying the Inners (pronounced Innas), the people residing on Earth, Luna (the moon), and Mars. These rail guns were…

Word of the Month: Ziggurat

David Zapatka Reader John W. Patterson writes, “For what it’s worth, because of my ever-deepening interest in what might be called “The History of Ideas,” I’ve been following your Word column in our Quail Creek Crossing for some years now. In a very real way, etymology is itself a useful adjunct for dealing with the…

Word of the Month: Domestique

  David Zapatka Last month we discussed the word “chicane” used in describing an obstacle on the Tour de France racecourse. Our word this month is “domestique,” used to describe a rider in the Tour de France. Domestique noun do·mes·tique dō′mĕs-tēk′ (Cycle Racing) (in competitive road cycling) a cyclist whose job is to support the higher-ranking members…

Word of the Month: Quincunx

Saturn V rockets in quincunx formation. I took the picture last September while touring the NASA Space Center in Houston, Texas. Note the quincunx pattern at the bottom of the rocket.

David Zapatka While reading The Labours of Hercules by Alice A. Bailey in my book-reading group, I ran across the familiar word “quincunx” and had to reach back in my memory to recall where I had been exposed to this word before. Quincunx noun quin·cunx | ˈkwin-ˌkəŋ(k)s 1. an arrangement of five objects with four at the…

Word of the Month: Irenic

  David Zapatka Friend, fellow bridge enthusiast, and reader Maria Davis wrote, “I came across this word today as I was flying to Miami. I rarely get five hours of uninterrupted reading time! I was reading Essays on Ethics by Jonathan Sacks, so he used the British spelling “eirenic,” which is closer to the original Greek…

Word of the Month: Contronym

David Zapatka Reader and dear friend Ellen Engel suggested I look at Mental Floss’ article on contronyms. I subscribed to Mental Floss for years and enjoyed the magazine. Today, you can only read it online, as its print version has been discontinued. Contronym noun con·​tro·​nym | ˈkän-trə-ˌnim variant – contranym: a word having two meanings that contradict one…

Word of the Month: Whelm

David Zapatka While at a conference in Houston, Texas, last month, I heard keynote speaker Frank Abagnale, the author of the book Catch Me If You Can and main character of the movie by the same name, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The book and movie depict Mr. Abagnale’s life as a check forger and scam artist. He…

Word of the Month: Percipient

David Zapatka Friend, fellow bridge enthusiast and reader, Maria Davis, wrote, “I enjoyed your article on thraldom. It’s easier to spot the etymology when the alternative spelling thralldom is used. I have seen thrall and enthralled but thral(l)dom is a word that I had not encountered previously. I came across an interesting word today—percipient. It…

Word of the Month: Thraldom

David Zapatka While reading page 52 of The Labours of Hercules by Alice A. Bailey in my book-reading group, I ran across this sentence. “Let the soul be single in its purpose and freed from the thraldom of matter, and then right action and a right point of view will inevitably be the characteristics of the…

Word of the Month: Orbisculate

David Zapatka We’re doing something different this month. We’re going to explore getting a new word into dictionaries. Reader Debbie M. writes, “Hello, I enjoy your column and want to offer a suggestion. ‘Orbisculate’ is a word not yet in the dictionary. I think we should help the young people who are trying to get this…