Category Archives: words

Word of the Week

In honor of Black Friday:

Target Effect – the name of the behavior of going into a store intending to buy one item but leaving with a full cart.

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Posted by on November 24, 2018 in fiction, words


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Japanese Word of the Week


Despite my best intentions, I can be rather tsunkodoko. My reading list gets longer and longer. I am loving the two novels I’m reading Alexander Dumas’The Count of Monte Cristo and Ernest Poole’s The Harbor, but the end of the semester has made me put The Forest by Edmund Rutherford down.

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Posted by on June 13, 2014 in words


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Word of the Week

I’ve never heard this one. I’ve heard kludgy or cludgy, but not crufty.

crufty, adj.
[‘Of software: poorly designed, esp. unnecessarily or unintentionally complex; containing redundant code.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈkrʌfti/, U.S. /ˈkrəfti/
Etymology:Apparently < cruft n.2 + -y suffix1: see discussion at cruft n.2
Computing slang.
Of software: poorly designed, esp. unnecessarily or unintentionally complex; containing redundant code.
1981 CoEvolution Q. Spring 29/1 Crufty, poorly built, possibly overly complex. ‘This is standard old crufty DEC software.’
1984 J. Varley in S. Williams Hugo & Nebula Award Winners from Asimov's Sci. Fiction (1995) 178 Routines so bletcherous they'd make your skin crawl. Real crufty bagbiters.
2005 C. Stross Accelerando vii. 332 There's lots of crufty twentieth-century bugware kicking around under your shiny new singularity.

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Posted by on May 27, 2014 in words


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Word(s) of the Week

I’m taking a course in Reference services in grad school. Our first assignment focused on dictionaries. Here’s a part of what I had to find:

1. What is a ‘trustafarian’?  Evaluate the authority of the source you used to locate this definition.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘trustafarian’ as: A wealthy young (white) person with a bohemian lifestyle, typically one who adopts aspects of the appearance and culture of other ethnic groups (esp. Rastafarians) and lives in or frequents a fashionable, multicultural area. Freq. mildly derogatory. Also as adj.

I first tried the slang dictionary on UICU’s library’s website, but found no results. Since I expect OED to have almost every word and impeccable accuracy, I went there. I like that it defined this word, gave sample sentences and states that it’s somewhat derogatory, which helps a patron understand its use more completely.

“Trustafarian, n. (and adj.)”. OED Online. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2013. Web. (accessed on February 3, 2014)

2. What is samizdat literature?  Where did the term come from?  When was it first used in the English language? Where was it first used?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, samizdat literature is: The clandestine or illegal copying and distribution of literature (orig. and chiefly in the U.S.S.R.); an ‘underground press’; a text or texts produced by this. Also transf. and attrib. or as adj. Phr. in samizdat, in this form of publication.

Samizdat comes from Russian and was first used in 1967 in The London Times as shown below:

1967   Times 6 Nov. (Russia Suppl.) p. xxii/4   A vast and newly educated [Soviet] not pass around the precious samizdat (unpublished) manuscripts.

Since the question asked for etymological information, I immediately went to the OED, which I learned to use as an undergraduate. It’s a favorite dictionary of mine and well known for its etymology.

“Samizdat, n.”. OED Online.</cite Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2013. (accessed February 1, 2014).

3. What does IMHO stand for?  Does it have multiple meanings?
According to several dictionaries IMHO stands for “in my humble opinion.” Gale Virtual Reference offers more terms:

Idiots Manage High Office
I Make Humungous Overstatements
Inane Marketing Hold-Over
In My Honest Opinion
In My Humble Opinion [Internet language] [Computer science]

Internet Media House
Inventory of Mental Health Organizations [Department of Health and Human Services] (GFGA)

I searched Credo and found Webster’s New World & Trade Computer Dictionary had a definition. Since “Webster’s” is a name that is no longer copyright protected I wasn’t sure of the source’s credibility, but I was curious about a dictionary of computer terms. Since the patron wondered about multiple meanings I wanted to insure I found all possibilities. Gale Virtual Reference, which I found through Credo and therefore trust, offered a number of meanings, which should satisfy the patron.

“IMHO.” Acronyms, Initialisms & Abbreviations Dictionary.  Ed. Kristin B. Mallegg. 44th ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. (accessed February 3, 2014.)

“IMHO.” In Webster’s New World & Trade; Computer Dictionary. Hoboken: Wiley, 2003. Web. (accessed February 3, 2014.)

4. What can you tell me about onychotillomania?

According to American Heritage Medical Dictionary, which I accessed through, it’s a noun referring to “a tendency to pick at the fingernails or toenails.” Stedman’s Medical Dictionary confirmed this definition and added that it’s derived from Greek.

Since the term sounds psychological, I consulted a medical dictionary. First I tried because I have never used it and I want to investigate as many sources as possible during this course. While I got a short definition, I wasn’t sure of so I accessed the ebook version of Stedman’s Medical dictionary through UICU’s library. I trust that they offer an accurate medical dictionary.

“Onychotillomania. (n.d.). American Heritage Medical Dictionary. Web. n.d.[accessed February 3rd, 2014].

“Onychotillomania.” Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, 28th Ed. Stedman, Thomas Lathrop. Philadelphia : Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2003. Web. [accessed February 3rd, 2014].

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Posted by on February 5, 2014 in words


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Word of the Week

niminy-piminy, adj.
[‘Mincing, affected; without force, drive, or spirit.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌnɪmᵻnɪˈpɪmᵻni/, U.S. /ˈnɪmᵻniˈpɪmᵻni/
Forms: 17–18 nimini-pimini, 18 nimeny-pimeny, 18– niminy-piminy.
Etymology:Imitative of affected speech (see quot. 17861 at main sense), perhaps after namby-pamby adj. Compare miminy-piminy adj. and perhaps also mimp n. and adj.
Mincing, affected; without force, drive, or spirit.
Quots. 17861 may show use as an interjection

  • 1786 J. Burgoyne Heiress iii ii. 55 Lady Emily… You have only, when before your glass, to keep pronouncing to yourself nimini-primini. Miss Alscrip. Nimini-pimini-imini, mimini—oh, it’s delightfully enfantine.
  • 1786 G White Let. 25 Mar. in R. Holt-White Life & Lett. G. White (1901) II. 154, I hope you practice every day at your Glass; and that you are by this time perfect mistress of ‘Nimini pimini’.
  • 1801 Monthly Rev. 35 324 With..a smirking countenance, and ‘nimeny pimeny’ lisp.
  • 1822 L. Hunt Indicator No. 23 I. 178 To see her proud, affected, niminy-piminy face in.
  • 1830 J. Jekyll Corr. (1894) 221 an exquisite, her husband a nimini pimini gentleman.
  • 1840 Thackeray in Fraser’s Mag. July 115/2 But was there ever such a niminypiminy subject treated in such a niminypiminy way?
  • a1894 R. L. Stevenson St. Ives (1898) xxv. 190 A niminy-piminy creature, afraid of a petticoat and a bottle.
  • 1945 R. Hargreaves Enemy at Gate 45 That niminy-piminy, shallow, self-conscious intellectualism.
  • 1985 R. Davies What’s bred in Bone (1986) v. 300 Parents are terribly niminy-piminy about telling their children these things.
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in words


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You Are Old Fashioned

You think that the best things come from the past. You love anything vintage or retro.
You have a good memory for facts. You always are an ace at trivia.The world excites you. There are so many places you want to go and things you want to learn.You have a few key interests that are borderline obsessions. You can’t stop thinking about them!
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Posted by on March 4, 2012 in words


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Proust, My Dictionary and Me

More words from In Search of Lost Time

vade-mecum, p. 250: ‘come with me’; n. guide-book; manual

florilegium, p. 292: n. (pl. -gia) collection of flowers; description of flora

beadle, p. 294: n. officer of parish, church, court, etc., for keeping order; mace-bearer. beadledom, n. petty officialdom

sursum corda, p. 295: n. ‘lift up your hearts’; versicle in church service

to take French leave, p. 313: To take without asking leave or giving any equivalent. The allusion is to the French soldiers, who in their invasions take what they require, and never wait to ask permission of the owners or pay any price for what they take.

The French retort this courtesy by calling a creditor an Englishman (un Anglais), a term in vogue in the sixteenth century, and used by Clement Marot. Even to the present hour, when a man excuses himself from entering a café or theatre, because he is in debt, he says: “Non, non! je suis Anglé ‘ (“I am cleared out”).

“Et aujourd’huy je faictz soliciter
Tous me angloys.”
Guillaume Creton (1520).

French leave. Leaving a party, house, or neighbourhood without bidding goodbye to anyone; to slip away unnoticed.

ephebe, p. 334: A youth between 18 and 20 years of age in ancient Greece

Aspasia, p. 335: Greek courtesan and lover of Pericles who was noted for her wisdom, wit, and beauty

ukase, p. ?: Russian edict

proleptic, p. 387: The anachronistic representation of something as existing before its proper or historical time

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Posted by on October 12, 2011 in French Lit, words


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