Facetious Food Spoken Here

I like fun words like today’s word of the day by dictionary.com. A facetious word it is, prompting me to also look up facetious [fuhsee-shuh s], although already confident on it’s meaning. But seeing that it was included in the definition, I thought I would be extra, extra sure. And yep, facetious means not to be taken seriously, or amusing and humorous.

I imagine the word alone will give away it’s humor, for everyone knows there’s no such thing as a cackleberry tree, right? A noun that means a hen’s egg used for food, cackleberry [kakuh-l-ber-ee] is indeed a word, and a funny one at that. “Two cackleberries over easy, please!”

Spoken as early as the 1900’s in the U.S., whomever coined this slang likely had a dang good sense of humor.

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The historical attention deficit

Today’s Word of the Day by dictionary.com has two definitions. One of them is just what the word sounds like, which is woolgathering,  a gathering of the tufts of wool shed by sheep and caught on bushes. This is actually the second definition. The first one is very different and it seemed like the wrong definition for the word until I realized how it came about.

A noun, woolgathering [woo l-gath-er-ing] is, and also means an indulgence in idle fancies and in daydreaming; absentmindedness. Because gathering tufts of wool was thought to be a mindless task and gatherers were caught daydreaming, this definition grew out of the literal sense. Entering the English language in the mid-1500’s, I suppose it could be considered the historical disorder of attention deficit.

I also suppose that a woolgatherer would be a person who collects the woolgatherings left by sheep. What about a person doing the indulging of fancies, would they, or could they, be called a woolgatherer as well? So a person with attention deficit disorder, could they be called an attention deficiter? Just kidding, I know this is not a word. I know that they are simply called someone who does not subtract. 😉

My bout with my beloved boater

When you think of someone living on a boat, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? What do you imagine it to look like? Under what circumstances do you suppose would precipitate a person choosing to live on a boat?

Needless to say, the idea has never appealed to me. Not even on a million dollar yacht, would I choose to live, unless the alternative was homelessness perhaps. Unless my finances were in such serious arrears (which, by the way, is today’s Word of the Day by dictionary.com) that I had no other choice, I could not see myself living on a boat. But that’s just me, or so I thought. I know someone else who says it would be living his dream.

“Wouldn’t you get lonely?” I questioned, although he’s probably the biggest “loner” I ever have met, to which he replied, “No, I’d have you with me!” “Oh really!” I exclaimed and then laughed, “You would really want me to live on a boat with you?” “Of course!” he said, “but I don’t know how you’d do. You couldn’t bring a bunch of stuff, it’s just the bare necessities on a boat.” I felt a twinge of fear at the mere thought of this and then chuckled when I thought, well, I am an all-or-nothing kind of person!

A bit later, I thought about all of the things on my never-ending to-do list. The many things I feel I need to do, the things I want to do, and the things I told others I would do, weighed heavily on my mind. Just think of how many things would be eliminated from my list if we lived on a boat, I mused to myself. Just think of how much time I would have to do all the things I want to do most in this life if we lived on a boat! My excitement surprised me.

Upon seeing today’s Word of the Day, I first thought of when it would have applied to my financial health. Thankful to no longer be in such a situation, my attention turned to the phone calls from friends I need to return, my over-grown garden, and lots of laundry. I was somewhat surprised at how feeling overwhelmed due to arrears  is the same for me, whether the cause is finances, friendships or chores.

Meaning the state of being behind or late, especially in the fulfillment of a duty, promise, obligation, or the like, the word arrears [uh-reerz] is a plural noun and, according to dictionary.com, idioms, when talking about being in arrears. So that feeling, for me, really stems from me not fulfilling an obligation, whatever it is. The solution? Well, picking up the phone is a start. Whether it is to straighten out finances or catch up with a friend, merely making the attempt eases the overwhelming feelings. Or I could just sail away with my husband.

 

Marian’s Mnemonic Mantra

When you apply sunscreen, do you make sure to rub it into your skin real good? I do, I have always done it this way, and to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever personally suggested to me otherwise. That is, until my friend Marian showed me a better way. The first day of our vacation with friends, we all lathered on the sunscreen – SPF 30, although we now know that our northern friends the first few days should use SPF 50, and we rubbed it in real good. Marian got a little crispy, but just a little. Marian determined that she would be better protected if the sunscreen was not rubbed into her skin, but left on top of her skin, acting as a barrier. And from then on out, every time she applied sunscreen (which was several times a day), she would chant, “Barbecue sauce, not a rub… barbecue sauce, not a rub…” By the end of the week, if I even saw her reach for the sunscreen, I automatically thought, barbecue sauce, not a rub. So that is Marian’s mantra, which could also be called a mnemonic, because it helps me to remember to leave a barrier of sunscreen and not thoroughly rub it in.

Brought to us by dictionary.com, mnemonic is today’s Word of the Day, pronounced ni-mon-ik. Used as a noun, mnemonic is something intended to assist the memory, as a verse or formula; as an adjective, it means assisting or intended to assist the memory. Well Marian, your mantra certainly did assist my memory in changing the way I have applied sunscreen my whole life, and therefore, I am calling it a mnemonic. Or, it could also be Marian’s mnemonic mantra. Yep, that’s it!

Billy Jo and Mimi

There’s just nothing like waking up with Kate Bradley, the Bradley girls and Uncle Joe at the Shady Rest Hotel. Good, wholesome television is such a rarity these days and shows like Petticoat Junction do a good job captivating my attention. On this morning’s show, Kate tries to get one of her daughters to turn her attention to the new handsome, young doctor in town with hopes that she’ll actually become interested in going to medical school. When Floyd asked her how she knew the doctor would be interested, I swear it sounded like she said something along the lines of Billy Jo being a cynosure, which just so happens to be today’s word of the day on dictionary.com.

Yep, cynosure [sin-uh-shoo r] is a noun and it is something that strongly attracts attention by its brilliance, interest, etc. So there you have it, in the land of Susie’s Write Solutions, a cynosure can be a person; it can also be something a person is wearing, as in jewelry or clothing, or even makeup, like Mimi in the Drew Carey Show. Hopefully I helped you to learn something new today, and if not, at least you have the name of a good show to go check out.

A-B-C is easy as 1-2-3

I know many abecedarians. I first thought of the little ones I know who just graduated from Kindergarten and those getting ready to go in the fall, seeing that according to Dictionary.com, the first definition of abecedarian, today’s Word of the Day, is “a person who is learning the letters of the alphabet.” How appropriate that it is pronounced ey-bee-see-DAIR-ee-uhn, or a-b-c-darian.

It also means “a beginner in any field of learning,” and I know a few of those who are grown-ups. Two of my friends are learning a new business and another two went back to school for a degree, there’s four off the top of my head. I bet if I thought about it long enough, I could come up with an example for all of my friends.Very broad examples, and perhaps not technically on point, like I guess you could say I am a beginner in the field of blogging every day. I’m also new at driving a small car, and after driving high-up for the past eighteen years in a van, an SUV, and then a truck, a small car certainly feels like learning a new field!

To Meddle is to Nettle

To meddle is to nettle – I think so anyway. That is because it annoys me when people meddle. Getting into other people’s business uninvited is a no-no, for those of you who may not know. So, meddling causes nettling, which is to irritate, annoy or provoke. It is also today’s Word of the Day on Dictionary.com.

Killing Words

Most people have heard of homicide, but what about the word verbicide? My first thought upon seeing this Word of the Day was that just as Homo, as in Homo sapiens, is a human, verb is a word. In other words, just as homicide means killing another person, verbicide is the killing of a word. Sort of.

Oliver Wendell Holmes compared homicide and verbicide in The Atlantic Monthly in 1857, saying that life and language are both sacred. “That is,” he wrote, “violent treatment of a word with fatal results to its legitimate meaning, which is its life – are alike forbidden.” According to the definition by Dictionary.com, the distortion or depreciation of the meaning of such word must be done willfully for it to be considered verbicide. Not like when my husband (soon-to-be then) asked my mom who “Carte Blanche” was when she informed him that she had (her, it) to choose the flowers for our wedding. No, he didn’t commit verbicide that day, he had just never heard of “carte blanche” before. He’s likely to never forget what it means now, over twenty years later it is still one of my favorite wedding stories. Thankfully, he’s a good sport.

I was going to say that the next time you think about deliberately changing the meaning of a word by the way you use it, keep in mind that it’s verbicide and you might decide against it. However, upon second thought of this statement, I wonder about using a pun. Perhaps I’ll look further into the differences tomorrow, if there are any, but until then I’m done!

Adret (a-DREY) is the word today

Having never lived on a mountain, or anywhere close to a mountain, I can not say whether or not I would find it desirable. I can tell you that I found it absolutely horrifying when we drove up a mountain in North Carolina, and it was just as frightening going back down. We were visiting my husband’s cousin a few years ago, a beautiful place, but a little too steep for me and my anxiety. My poor husband.

Here’s a view while driving (picture taken by me, the passenger): NC1

Apparently, when talking mountains, there is a shady side and there is a side that receives direct sunlight. As one might expect, the shadier side is usually rocky and steep while the sunny side is more fertile. This side, the sunny side, is called an adret, pronounced a-DREY, and is Dictionary.com‘s Word of the Day. If I ever had to live on a mountain, I would say, “Okay, just make sure I’m on the adret!”

NC2

Vain People or Vane People?

You’re so vain, you probably think this blog is about you… Oops, wait a minute – back up. Sorry, wrong vain. I meant to say – You’re so vane, no one can ever count on you, and of course I am talking to those who change their minds with the wind. Yep, according to Dictionary.com, today’s Word of the Day, vane, refers to people as well as a weather vane and six other items. If you didn’t know that, then you have learned something new today!