Take Our Word For It Issue 194
Jan 10, 2004 23:38 PST
Take Our Word For It Issue 194
For Mac users who have trouble with our regular homepage:
Yes, we really are BACK! And we really do have a new issue for you!
**This Week's Issue**
NOTE: The links in this newsletter are good for January 10-January 20
unless the next issue is delayed.
In Spotlight, we present "Literary Devices" where we discuss the
etymology of some of those odd-sounding Greek terms
In Words to the Wise, we bring you the following words/phrases:
In Curmudgeons' Corner Guestmudgeon Daleen Corts "should of" complained
In Sez You... we hear about Thule and toolies, sticks and straws,
char-a-banc, "church" and Old English, Isabella and "isabelline",
postcodes, beck and call, boilerplate revisited, and just as soon.
In Laughing Stock we bring you a gardening club that's just not for men
A lot of spam comes from some hilariously named people these days.
Clearly the senders are simply making up the names or have some sort of
random word generator. One example culled from actual spam is Lowered
G. Frankfurt, another is Rudimentary F. Candied. Well, one of
these strange sender names reminded us of a word that we've wanted to
discuss for a while: metastasize. Yes, we got spam from a Mr.
Metastasize! Well, the noun form of metastasize is metastasis, and
biologically (which is the sense we are investigating), it refers to the
transference of disease from one part or organ to another, and so,
metastasize is typically used with reference to cancer, when it moves
from, say, the breast to the lung. The word metastasis comes via Latin
from Greek metastasis, which is a noun of action formed from the verb
methistanai "to remove, to change". Methistanai is formed from meta-
"with, after" and stasis "standing, stoppage". The etymological sense,
then, is one of a change in standing, as in cancer "standing" in one
organ and then moving to another. Metastasis dates from the mid-17th
century in the biological sense; prior to that it referred to "a rapid
transition from one point to another" in the art of Rhetoric.
Metastasize dates from the early 20th century.
If nothing else, knowing that metastasize comes from metastasis will
help you remember how to pronounce and spell metastasize (which normally
has the accent on the first "a" and so can be quite a tongue-twister!).
Yes, we've received a new book for review. It is "Words You Thought You
Knew... 1001 Commonly Misused and Misunderstood Words and Phrases" by
Jenna Glatzer. A woman after our own hearts! She even includes a quiz
at the end! For any of you who read our "Curmudgeons' Corner" column
and don't get it, this book is for you. It is also for those pedants
who want to give language transgressors written evidence of their
transgressions! It's a nice, little book that makes it easy to carry
around so that the next time you are in the grocery store and see
"Lane 1 for 10 items or less", you can call the manager over and show
him it should be "10 items or fewer"!
Ms. Glatzer examines improperly used words, incorrectly heard/spelled
words, and homophones. For example, she covers the old standards like
it's/its, irregardless, and continual/continuous. She also discusses
the TRUE meaning of "ironic" (once again dissing Alanis Morissette for
her "Isn't It Ironic" song) and how to properly use "ostensible".
Additionally, she handles some phrases (in a separate section from the
single words) like "dog eat dog"/"doggy dog" and "begs the question".
She even tackles "could have/could of", which is the subject of our
Curmudgeons' Corner in the current issue of TOWFI! She makes what we
consider a few errors, like commanding "Never use 'that' when you're
referring to a person" (use 'who' instead) and "Orientate was never
meant to be a word", but we can forgive those because she gets so many
other ones right.
Here's a sample entry:
Initials only form an acronym if they make a word that can be
pronounced. For example, the band All Styles Wicked sometimes goes by
its initials, ASW. You can't pronounce "asw", so that's not an acronym.
It is an abbreviation. Abbreviations are shortened forms of words or
phrases. However, the organization Drug Abuse Stops Here goes by its
initials - DASH - and Mothers Against DrunK Driving goes by MADD. Those
Examples: "Etc." is an abbreviation for "etcetera".
"WOW" is an acronym for "Women Opposed to Waxing".**
Check it out. The book sells for $8.95 in the U.S. and $14.95 in
Canada. We have added it to our online bookstore
(http://www.takeourword.com/bookStore.html). Also, here is Jenna
Glatzer's web site: http://www.absolutewrite.com .
Well, now we must go and work on getting the notion of "waxing" out of
our minds. Ouch!
Keep sending the funny stuff! This week's winner, Martha Saylor, will
receive a $10 gift certificate to Amazon.com. Thanks, Martha!
Thanks to Daleen Coorts for her contribution this week. Keep
**Where Have We Been?**
Well, Melanie was out of town on business for the month of November, and
when she returned home, the holiday season was here and we had a lot of
catching up to do for that! Then the holiday season passed and we've
been working on the current issue since then.
In the future, when we have similar schedule problems, we will attempt
to publish "best of" or "encore" issues on our regular publishing
We'll bring you a NOE next weekend. After that we will have another
issue for you, but whether it will be new or recycled we don't yet know
(Melanie has to go out of town AGAIN...).
Don't forget to check the book store:
Until next time,
Take Our Word For It!
Melanie and Mike