the word of my year: fresh

fresh

Seconds after the ball descended from the sky in NYC, my mind began to wander to the world of language. As my surrounding company began to whisper 2010 resolutions, I started to consider which word I should choose to define my new year. After some quick yet careful thinking, I selected “fresh” from the imaginary word bubble that was lingering near my mind and bouncing syllables around like plinko (Price Is Right reference, anyone?).

“Fresh” at first seems like an obvious choice as we tend to approach the new year hoping for a fresh start or a fresh perspective, but this word means much more to my definition of 2010. I intend to push myself personally and professionally to seek out fresh, creative experiences that excite my senses. There is something so vibrant, energetic and hopeful about this very word. I am not sure I could live without it this year. As I tattoo it in my mind, it will be a constant reminder to look at my world through an adjusted set of eyes.

But before I begin to write my manifesto for the new year, let’s take a closer look at what “fresh” truly means. According to Merriam-Webster, “fresh” is defined as:

1 a : having its original qualities unimpaired: as (1) : full of or renewed in vigor : refreshed <rose fresh from a good night’s sleep> (2) : not stale, sour, or decayed <fresh bread> (3) : not faded <the lessons remain fresh in her memory> (4) : not worn or rumpled <a fresh white shirt> b : not altered by processing <fresh vegetables>
2 a : not salt b (1) : free from taint : pure <fresh air> (2) of wind : moderately strong
3 a (1) : experienced, made, or received newly or anew <form fresh friendships> (2) : additional, another <a fresh start> b : original, vivid <a fresh portrayal> c : lacking experience : raw d : newly or just come or arrived <fresh from school> e : having the milk flow recently established <a fresh cow>
4 [probably by folk etymology from German frech] : disposed to take liberties : impudent <don’t get fresh with me>
5 slang : fashionable, cool

Just say “fresh” out loud and make to sure to let the “sh” linger and extend. I feel as though I am breathing out new life into my 2010 as the prolonged “sh” is spoken. Yes, I love the word that much.

What word will define your 2010?

logo_347x88

Words make swoon, especially when they’re chock-full of history and pop culture references. So my inner word nerd was jumping for joy when I stumbled upon Wordnik, which is “based on the principle that people learn words best by seeing them in context. We’ve collected more than 4 billion words of text (web pages, books, magazines, newspapers, etc.) and have mined them exhaustively to show you example sentences for any word you’re interested in.”

Unlike traditional dictionaries, Wordnik goes beyond a simple definition by offering sample sentence, related words, images on Flickr, stats, references on twitter, etymology, audio pronunciation and contributions from Wordnik users. My heart skipped a beat when I read that users can even add new words to Wordnik and instantly share their crafted gems with the community.

What I love most about Wordnik is the “Random Word” feature, which brings an element of spontaneity to my passion for language.

I’m thrilled to have become a Wordnik member, and can’t wait to expand my language loving mind. Hope to see you there!

steeped syllables: a closer look at “tea”

83154603_66c49343e2
My thoughts always wander to the written word while I sip my afternoon cup of tea.  So it seemed appropriate to explore what was beyond the leaves and behind the word. In order to quench my mental thirst I searched the Online Etymology Dictionary and learned this about the origins of “Tea”:
1655, earlier chaa (1598, from Port. cha), from Malay teh and directly from Chinese (Amoy dialect) t’e, in Mandarin ch’a. The distribution of the different forms of the word reflects the spread of use of the beverage. The modern Eng. form, along with Fr. the, Sp. te, Ger. Tee, etc., derive via Du. thee from the Amoy form, reflecting the role of the Dutch as the chief importers of the leaves (through the Dutch East India Company, from 1610). First known in Paris 1635, the practice of drinking tea was first introduced to England 1644. The Port. word (attested from 1559) came via Macao; and Rus. chai, Pers. cha, Gk. tsai, Arabic shay and Turk. çay all came overland from the Mandarin form. Meaning “afternoon meal at which tea is served” is from 1738. Tea bag first recorded 1940; tea ball is from 1895.
To state it simply, “tea” is culturally complex and incredibly fascinating! It’s amazing to see how the Chinese “t’e” evolved into the Dutch “thee,” which would eventually become our “tea” due to their strong presence in the tea trading business at that time.

wear your words: uppercase scarf

VPR0005441_P3

Some people are known to express their emotional selves by wearing their hearts on their sleeves. Literate lovers wear letters around their neck (possibly draped right over their heart) with Veer’s uppercase scarf, made of Helvetica letters that are “laser cut into black or white microfiber suede.”

This neck friendly accessory would make the perfect gift for a word nerd! And I’m sure it would inspire many late-night writing sessions, and maybe even cure the rare case of the writing block flu.

How fabulous!

VPR0005441_P2

Word Nerds Love Onomatopoeias

3670827390_bb528cbce1

As a word nerd, I squeal when taking a peek at the Online Etymology Dictionary and can’t wait to see what words will be added to the dictionary each year. Needless to say, I have a special place in my heart for onomatopoeias 1 : the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (as buzz, hiss) 2 : the use of words whose sound suggests the sense” (thank you Merriam-Webster). There is something so exhilarating about these magical words that bring a sentence to life. It makes me BUZZ with excitement! What onomatopoeia causes your inner word nerd to SNAP, CRACKLE and POP with joy?

To see a few of my favorite onomatopoeias, take a peek at this guide…

word on the tweet: textcapades from @mrjoezee

TweetJZ @mrjoezee

Tonight’s theme at drinks: Textcapades – the act of flirting without

consummating, committing or conversing. Do you do it?

As I write my first “word on the tweet” post, I can’t help but joyfully anticipate the worded journey that this twitter adventure will prove to be. Similar to that of sifting through a haystack of language, I’ll be browsing 140 characters for written gems that send me into an etymology coma.

Many thanks to the fabulous @mrjoezee! For those of you living under a rock (make that a boulder), Joe Zee is the “Creative Director of ELLE Magazine, Stylist, Fashion Loudmouth, Backup Dancer.” After taking a peek at his tweets to catch a few twitpics of racks filled with to-die-for clothing and tables of may-I-have-some accessories on his most recent shoot, I stumbled across his tweet discussing his encounter with “textcapades.”

Beyond Mr. Zee’s spot-on and simple definition of textcapade: “the act of flirting without consummating, committing or conversing,” I took a look at the slanguage know-it-all word source, Urban Dictionary. According to the 1st contributor on UD’s textcapade page, this sexy noun is defined as “a textual escapade; a wild and oftentimes illicit text message episode through a series of text messages.”

Although I am a language purist at times, I love the occasional piece of slangauge that evolves from combining techy words with established words holding their own in the dictionary; a language fusion of sorts. In this case, “text” was fused with “escapade.” This second generation definition of “text,” a verb/noun associated with written communication via a cellphone, originally made it’s mark in 1369, “wording of anything written” from O.Fr. texte. And the second part to the slanguage wonder, “escapade,” originated in 1653, from Fr. ‘a prank or trick,’ from Sp. escapada ‘a prank, flight, an escape,’ from escapar ‘to escape,’ from V.L. *excappare (see escape). Figurative sense (1814) is of ‘breaking loose’ from rules or restraints on behavior.”

Just make sure that the next time you need to escape via a text (over a few drinks), that you’re sending the illicit message to the right person. Otherwise, you might wake up with a textual hangover and have to jump right into damage control mode. And remember, always have safe textcapades.

Do you have textcapades? Just leave your comment as anonymous…I’ll never tell….

Happy Fireworks Weekend!

1264936124_6c28d80c36

As we celebrate independence this weekend in the U.S, there’s one thing that all we look forward to more than the plate of burgers and the crazy lady dressed in red, white and blue with her face painted. Any guesses? If you said “fireworks,” then go light yourself a sparkler. If not, well, then one less burger for you.

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the brightly lit noun, “firework” is defined as:

1 : a device for producing a striking display by the combustion of explosive or flammable compositions

2 plural : a display of fireworks

3 plural a: a display of temper or intense conflict b: a spectacular display <the fireworks of autumn leaves>

Lucky for me (and most Americans), I have a solid visual memory of this word as I read the definition. I am taken back to moments where I can see and hear the explosive sound erupting into twinkling lights in the sky, just as much as I can see the “fireworks” of fall colors begin to light up the trees lining the backyard.

Fireworks are as American as Apple Pie and Jerry Springer, but before exploding in the land of the free and the home of the brave, they were dancing in the skies of China as early as the 12th century. Merriam-Webster claims that fireworks were not rooted in language until 1575.

According to the blog, A Walk in the Words, “fireworks was not coined until 1777” the year after the U.S.A claimed independence. Prior to that date, “fireworks” were referred to as “rockets.”

But if we break down the word very simply, “fire” is truly doing the “work.” The “fire” causes the explosion to “work” and create a beautiful display that would excite all pyromaniacs and cause them to skip and frolic in glee.

As the independence weekend comes to an end, take a moment and soak up the big finale of fire’s work in the sky.

So you call yourself an en·tre·pre·neur

When you make the choice to create your own business adventure, you can identify with the following tags: independent, freelancer, consultant and last but not least, an entrepreneur.

“Entrepreneur” is probably noted in your bio, on your business card, and part of your elevator pitch, but did you ever stop to think what the word actually means? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, an “entrepreneur” is “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.” There are three forms of action within this single definition (organize, manage, assume), which truly emphasize the importance of action and multi-tasking. The definition also reinforces that an entrepreneur needs to have thick skin, serious confidence, and the ability to bounce back, as risks are part of the adventure. I do feel as though this definition is lacking key elements, such as noting that an entrepreneur is one who has a vision, one who assumes the success of a business along with the risks, etc.

Both Merriam-Webster and the Online Etymology Dictionary note that “entrepreneur” dates back to mid 1800’s and comes from the Old French word “entreprendre” meaning “to undertake.”  In order to live up to the historically rooted title of  “entrepreneur,” you must be committed to action and to doing whatever it takes to meet your goal and embark on your journey.

Although it is a single word, “entrepreneur” has a certain presence that is redefined and shaped by those that choose to follow their own path, and assume the risks and successes that come with pursuing a dream.

your personal library

65_D

You couldn’t live without your personal collection of books, and you refer to the small piece of wooden furniture, otherwise known as a book shelf, as your library. Although you love to share language and stories with others, you hesitate to lend a copy of your favorite book (even though you have 3 of the same title). If I have described you to the core, then you will surely swoon for this personal library kit from one of my favorite word nerd companies, Knock Knock:

Loan out  your favorite books in style and never lose another title. Kit includes 20 self adhesive pockets, 20 insert cards, one date stamp, pad, and pencil.”

My inner word nerd is jumping for joy at the thought of adding this kit to my life. I can’t wait to place the pockets and cards in my favorite books and share them with my fellow language lovers. I’ll happily stamp a late due date just as long as they write their name and a message on the insert card. I might have to search a few antique shops for a pair of librarian glasses to really add to the experience.

My question to you: What books would you love to share with friends? Would you be hesitant to part with one?

book and website review: Addictionary

picture-1

I recently was introduced to this wonderful website, Addictionary

The Addictionary is a site for word lovers and those who like to see our beloved English language grow in serious or humorous ways. We built the Addictionary to empower word-play and to help lovers of word-play showcase and market their cleverness and creativity to the world. Every feature in the site tries to keep that in mind. Let us know if you have suggestions in that regard.

This fabulous site should be on the bookmak bar of every word lover! enjoy reading and commenting on newly created words or go ahead and add your own. I personally adore “the wordoff” section where new words go head to head, as readers chose which one should prevail.  You can even sign up to receive “the word of the day” just to ensure you are getting your daily dose of new-word goodness! 

24_contestlogo

Back in ‘08, Jim Banister compiled a collection of his favorite new words from the site in a bite sized book Addictionary: Brave New Words. The new words are organized into the following categories: computers, office, corporate america, politics, medicine, pubs & clubs, literati, sports, religion & philosophy, travel, food & drink, hollywood, family, pets & other animals, dating & sexuality, fun & games, words that almost exist, miscellaneous.

two of the words that jumped off the page and remained in my mind:

lexecutioner

nounA person with a particular knack for butchering language.

 

perkatory

nounthe minutes spent waiting for your first cup of coffee in the morning

 

Snag a copy of the book, visit the site and let your word nerd creativity soar. Make your mark on the english language evolution (or revolution). So, what words have you created lately?

rest your tea on letters

dsc_0867_s_full

dsc_0864_s_thumb        dsc_0867_s_full1

I am allergic to coasters. my tables have suffered from this laziness, although, I would surely convert to a coaster craver if I had these lovely, lettered gems. These bamboo beauties are “four inches in diameter and set in Baskerville semibold.” 

I would brew a nice pot of tea and set the delicate cup on one of these typographic table protectors. I could imagine sipping from a cup while the letters seemed to jump from the coaster, inspiring me to write!

What a lovely gift for any word nerd!

fall's best worded accessory – interjections.

after some lively conversation with friends about my previous post’s word choice (hooray), I have another thought I’d like to share.

Interjections are accessories for a sentence. I would maybe even say that they are the word icing on the cake. That being said, today’s language has become highly abbreviated and interjections were the first to go. What started out as shortening words to single letters in the written form (you to u), has slowly invaded our verbal conversations. Afterthoughts of excitement, such as “hooray!”, no longer have a strong presence in both verbal and written language. Although, I am choosing to not erase the bursts of joy from my word bank.

I consider the interjection to be my best accessory; maybe even the pop of color amongst the bland grays of statements (well-it is fashion week). This fall season, I will adorn my conversations with its embellished flair, even if to some it seems out of style. So while others are wearing their abbreviated black minis of conversation, I will be the lady with the flowing, neon gown expressing joy in every sentence.

hooray for hooray!

2357862711_4073a6cbcd_o

There are some words that truly bring to a smile to my face, and “hooray” is definitely one of them. It not only carries a sense of joy with its meaning, but also with its pronunciation. Like a slice of lemon to a meal or the color red to a wall, “hooray” brightens any sentence.

Our trusty online dictionary, Merriam-Webster, notes that “hooray” is in fact an interjection that is “used to express joy, approval, or encouragement.” As an interjection, “a word or phrase used in exclamation,” the function of “hooray” even has a sense excitement.

“Hooray” can be dated back to 1686 and possibly comes from the German word “hurra,” the battle-cry of Prussian soldiers during the War of Liberation (1812-13). Although the word may seem outdated in your mind and somewhat hokey, I believe it really needs to make a comeback. “Hooray” adds a certain levity to a written sentence and literally brings a smile to any face when spoken (just say and word and the pronunciation will literally cause your mouth to form a smile-like shape).

“Hooray” is truly underused and absolutely fabulous. I highly recommend that you let it slip into your shouts of excitement.

I love language, hooray!

send some scrabble

Hallmark has been telling our nearest and dearest how much we love them, how old we think they are, or why we’re excited about the “insert name of event here” that they’re experiencing. But have you ever been able to share your love for a fellow word nerd in scrabble talk?  Yeah, I didn’t think so. Neil Freese, the creative brains behind this killer card and Bearpaw paper and crafts, knows how to talk to the word lovers. He truly crafted a way to score points on the scrabble board and with your language lover. 

I am beyond excited to snatch up some of these worded gems and share them with my fellow word nerds, who will get a kick out of the scrabble reference and intended sarcasm. But for those of you looking for a creative way to open up to your secret word admirer, then this is the perfect option, especially if you feel anxious to write your own witty remark (we don’t judge your word choices-well not all the time-just joking). 

 

happy scrabbling!

Sunday Slanguage: Mouse Trap

I have always been excited by the new words that DailyCandy.com writers create and share in their posts. DailyCandy has a knack for speaking a certain trendy language that is absolutely wonderful to read! The slanguage of DC is a nice blend of current culture and heavy sarcasm. After years of crafting new words, DC finally put them all under one book cover and created,  The DailyCandy Lexicon: Words That Don’t Exist but Should. This trendy dictionary is “a compilation of these soon-to-be-discovered words. Written by a crack team of secret agents (fine, us), the Lexicon is accompanied by a behind-the-keyboards look at the DailyCandy staff – and our wacky escapades.”

I occasionally write a piece for DC, but have yet to craft a word that is DailyCandy worthy (I am working on it). Since I am a freelance writer for DC and a word nerd, I attended the book release party and picked up a copy for myself. Over the last few days, I’ve paged through the book and snickered at the fabulous words and thought I would share a few in the Sunday Slanguage posts. With that being said, here is a sneak peek at a word from the “technology” section:

 

Mouse trap (noun)

“An internet purchase that looks a lot different upon arrival than it did in the picture.”

 

I am sure that this piece of DC slanguge rings true with many of you (that dress on ebay that looked glamorous on the screen but more a like a stained napkin after you ripped open the package). It’s interesting to see how a term that officially means “a trap for a rodent” can easily translate to an internet related word. This is a true mix of current culture and language!

travel through words

As much as I love exploring the fabulous words that the English language has to offer, I decided to take a lingual trip to Italy via Rosetta Stone. I’m only in the beginning stages of colors and numbers, but am enjoying the thrill of playing with new words. I am really looking forward to conversing in Spanish and Italian, and truly becoming a multilingual lady!

 

Are you learning a new language this summer?

Remember the playground

2959126452_78ab066279

Before the days of video games and facebook, most children could be found hanging from monkey bars, pumping their feet on the swings, and building larger than their life castles in the sand box. All of the latter activities were not controlled by a joystick or viewed from a couch, but actually happened in real life on a local playground.

It’s sad to see that “playgrounds” are no longer the go-to destination for neighborhood children. Some of my favorite childhood moments were spent dreaming while moving high into the sky on the swing. While traveling down memory lane, I thought I would explore the fabulous word, “playground.”

Playground:

1 : a piece of land used for and usually equipped with facilities for recreation especially by children

According to Merriam-Webster, “playground” can be dated back to 1794. That being said, if “playground” had a time chart, I would imagine that as soon as “video game” entered the scene “playground” experienced a bit of a dip.

Within the definition there are two words that jump out at me, “land” and “recreation.” The joy of a playground is feeling the “land” under your feet as you run, jump and return to stable ground, as it truly is a ground that one plays on. “Recreation” is the most important word within the definition, as it means “refreshment of strength and spirits after work.” A playground is an essential part of any childhood, as it really is a place where a spirit can be refreshed as children smile, laugh and imagine. On that note, I think I might take a ride on a swing tomorrow and hopefully inspire some children while renewing my own spirit. When it comes to the “playground” we’re all children at heart, so go play!

image courtesy of dennis and aimee jonez

Got a "reputation"?

During your middle school years, you sincerely tried to avoid earning a bad “reputation” so that the teachers didn’t report any poor behavior to your parents. Now, your “reputation” is multifaceted and can vary amongst social circles, places of work, home, friends, etc. In addition to your actions in person (maybe you shouldn’t have thrown a stapler at work just because you were frustrated), we also have to consider our online “reputation.” With so many expressive outlets online, our “reputations” can instantly be shaped in positive and negative ways.

Considering that our “reputation” is now being constructed in more places than ever, it might be a good idea to take a deeper look at the word that represents how others perceive us.

Reputation:

1 a: overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general b: recognition by other people of some characteristic or ability <has the reputation of being clever>

2: a place in public esteem or regard : good name <trying to protect his reputation>

 

The definition speaks of a voyeuristic quality as we are “judged” or “recognized” by “other people.” Also interesting to note, is that in the second part of the definition, “reputation” is perceived as something that is positive, regardless of a preceding descriptive adjective. As much as I love the role of the optimist, “reputation” is not a consistently positive term, as we all have chances to earn a bad “reputation.”

A “reputation” is made up of the judgment of others that is based on our actions in several places. This adds an element of honesty to a “reputation” as it can be built over time and in various scenarios. That being said, a true “reputation” is one that is echoed amongst various individuals.

 The word itself can be dated back to the 14th century and comes from,  reputatus, pp. of reputare ‘reflect upon, reckon.’” So word to the wise, reflect about a person before you judge them, as a “reputation” is a strong word that shapes how a person is perceived. And to those expressing themselves online, it’s probably a good idea to act and speak in a manner that is truly you, because even though some people might skip over your nasty blog comment, just remember that Google (like an elephant) never forgets.

Sunday Slanguage: Kicks

2488288987_4fabf18548

They’re the colorful shells that hit the pavement as you shuffle down the sidewalk. I’m talking about your “kicks” fresh from the box or worn in from the pavement. According to the Urban Dictionary, “kicks” refers to shoes, specifically the newest, most popular sneakers. This slang term doesn’t just live on the foot, but instead has inspired a “kicks” culture. Nice Kicks is an online magazines for shoe-enthusiasts and has “established itself as the leader in sneaker information on the web.”

Prior to its moments associated with swooshes and laces, “kicks” was slang for “something lively and fun,” hence Sinatra’s lyrics “I get no ‘kicks’ from champagne.” This older version has actually evolved quite nicely into its newest version, meaning new “sneaker.” These “kicks” that are worn today are usually bold, brightly colored foot fashion pieces that bring liveliness to a bland tennis shoe. This sense of fun from the original meaning is now worn right on the shoe.

“Kicks” has experienced a few torch passes in the slanguage world and has evolved with culture. Sinatra has passed his version of “kicks” lyrics on to the new performers in the pop culture scene who are making music about their new “kicks.” From a “fun time” to a “popular sneaker,” “kicks” has yet to be kicked out of the pop culture scene. So whether you “get your kicks” (find fun) or “get your kicks” (pick up some sneakers), there is one thing that remains true: sturdy slanguage survives.

image courtesy of sling@flickr

Your first word

2221264691_45f932c813

There are many of us that share the same first word honoring our fathers, “da da.” However, I am very curious to know what other first words were uttered that surprised a parent and lead to a fabulous story.

According to the Baby Center, at 4 to 6 months ”your child will start to babble, combining consonants and vowels (such as “baba” or “yaya”). The first “mama” or “dada” may slip out now and then. Though it’s sure to melt your heart, your baby doesn’t equate those words with you quite yet. That comes later, when he’s almost a year old.”

It’s fascintaing to imagine the moment you took a chance and formed your first word. Even though it was more of a sound/repeating what your parents said or encouraged, your brain and mouth were taking the very first verbal step.

What was your first word?

image courtesy of Christina Welsh (Rin)

Monogram your morning

Picture 1

Monograms evoke memories of mom’s writing on t-shirt tags worn to summer camp and fancy hand towels in the bathroom of newlyweds. Monograms are pre-internet taggings of items that we want to claim or express ourselves on. I personally enjoy the first initial monogram, which is why I gravitated towards the tea cup shown above. As a tea enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoy coming across a fabulous cup, which is why I lit up when I received an “A” tea cup from a wonderful friend. I like starting my morning with a cup of tea and a letter, as the caffeine and scripted font inspire and awaken my mind. Also, I never have to worry that someone will be confused about the ownership of the cup, unless I graciously share it of course.

Merriam-Webster notes that “monogram” is “a sign of identity usually formed of the combined initials of a name.” However, if you look at roots of the word,  “from Gk. monos ’single, alone’ + gramma ‘letter, line,’” then you’ll see that it makes reference to a single letter, not plural of initials. Although, Merriam did say “usually formed of combined initials” not “always.” “Monogram” can be dated back to 1696 and makes reference “to the signature of the Byzantine emperors. Earlier it meant “sketch or picture drawn in lines only, without shading or color,” a sense also found in L. and probably in Gk.”

The “monogram” is a physical way to tag our material items in an expressive manner that can only become possessive if we choose not to share (seriously, pass the tea cup to a friend every once and a while). So whether you’re still wearing that t-shirt from camp with mom’s scribble, or wiping your hands on the fancy, show towel that you shouldn’t be touching, you are probably encountering monograms pretty often.

I’d love to read some comments about the most ridiculous monogrammed items that you’ve encountered. I’ll be sure to read them while drinking from my “A” cup!

image courtesy of Anthropologie

The defining layers of "makeup"

Ever since I applied my first shade of Bonne Bell lip gloss in middle school, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with “makeup.” I enjoy the colors and art form, but I always debate about concealing vs. enhancing. So, I thought I would bring that debate back to the surface today and take a closer look at “makeup.”

1 a: the way in which the parts or ingredients of something are put together : composition b: physical, mental, and moral constitution

2 a: the operation of making up especially pages for printing b: design or layout of printed matter

3 a (1): cosmetics used to color and beautify the face (2): a cosmetic applied to other parts of the body b: materials (as wigs and cosmetics) used in making up or in special costuming (as for a play)

4: replacementspecifically : material added (as in a manufacturing process) to replace material that has been used up<makeup water>

5: something that makes up for a previous postponement, omission, failure, or deficiency <a makeup exam>

So that I don’t turn this post into a novel, I am just going to focus on definition 3a and 5. “Makeup,” as in the the cosmetic noun, can be dated back to 1886 when I assume women began to enhance/conceal their features. In today’s world, makeup is viewed as a life changing product, as makeovers turn women into happy, confident individuals. I completely support helping women see their “beauty,” but it’s a shame that it sometimes takes lipstick and foundation to create that experience/perspective. 

Within the definition of “makeup” two major concepts exist: something that “beautifies” and also something that ”makes up for a previous…failure, or deficiency.”  Enhancing evolves into concealing or image altering. At that point, the concept of “makeup” becomes the layers we wear to transform into something else or disguise what we are. Highlighting can truly turn into hiding.

Luckily, “makeup” remover exists and if we’re strong enough we can take it off and share our true colors with the world, but a little lipstick now and then never hurt.

 

 

image courtesy of alyssa snyder

Sunday Slanguage: Texpectation

During a busy weekend filled with events, I was glued to my phone while arranging rides, discussing gifts and alerting others of why I was so MIA, all through text messaging of course. Texting is a common phone activity that keeps my fingers in shape when not dancing all over my laptop’s keyboard. However, instant communication through text has definitely caused me to become quite impatient, which leads to this Sunday’s slang, “textpectation.”

“Textpectation” refers to the “anticipation one feels when waiting for a response to a text message.” If you are a serial texter, then you are quite familiar with “texpectation,” as you constantly check your phone and run when you hear the beep, ring or feel the vibration. If you still have held on to a bit of your sanity and not fallen victim to text anxiety, then you’re quite lucky.  The art of patience has truly lost its battle in this form of communication.

It’s hard to believe that I actually communicated often via snail mail with friends. However, I can still recall the long awaited excitement when the letter from my pen pal would appear on my kitchen table. Yes, a pen pal, do you remember them? The relationship one could build with a pen pal was deep and sincere, as a result of thought out, lengthy letters. Textpals, well, they’re a different breed. Instant communication gives us immediate access to the person, but the fast pace writing form has possibly eliminated the slow and steady thought process of a letter. The pieces of paper stained with pen were often filled with hopes, dreams and emotions, in addition to the bits and pieces about life that can be found in a few texts.

“Textpectation” makes reference to a certain excitement, but also is a comment on the anxiety and impatience that is slowly building in society. I don’t even want to know what disorder “textpectation” will lead to years later, as the younger generations are ridden with anxiety and minor breakdowns when cell service is patchy. 

So the next time you’re waiting for a text, eliminate your “textpectation” just by taking a moment to breathe. 

 

image courtesy of  kamshots

Words to walk by

invitation_B.Neijnacopy_-final

When I think of concourses at an airport, magazine stands, food carts and colliding suitcases come to mind. Although, if you happen to be walking through Concourse J in the Miami International Airport, then your inner word nerd will be delighted to see phrases from the book The Everglades: River of Grass by Marjory Stoneman Douglas. The “text from River of Grass is embedded into 65,000 square feet of terrazzo, from beginning to the end of the concourse.  Along the terrazzo floor, interspersed with the text, are squares of color photographs taken in the Everglades.”

There are usually two types of travelers, those who are consistently late and running to their plane and those who are serious planners and have arrived hours early with a book in hand. Both travelers will have a different experience with this worded installation, either catching a word or leisurely standing to the side and taking in an entire section. In fact, the writer who described the installation on the Miami International Airport site, Barbara Neijna, noted that “the installation can be appreciated and understood over a long stay of time, delving into the multi-layering of context and content, or it can be taken in at a fleeting pace, catching a word or two of the terrazzo text or a splash of color from the curtain wall glass.”

Big thanks to the friend that shared this fabulous info with me after experiencing the installation in person. His concern was that it would cause mass collisions, as individuals would be focused on the floor and not the people traffic around them, and I couldn’t agree more. Even though the worded concourse may cause a few run ins, I ultimately think that the installation is absolutely fabulous!

Abracadabra: a truly magical word

A rabbit is pulled from a hat, your card is instantly guessed, an object disappears from a hand and appears behind your ear, and a woman who was split in half is put back together. All magicians usually end the previous entertainment experiences with one memorable word, “abracadabra.” I never truly payed much attention to the word, as a result of being stunned by some magical event. However, a few years ago I purchased a word related book (shocker!) and discovered all that is “abracadabra” within the first few pages. 

I, along with most of the American culture, am familiar with the first definition that Merriam-Webster notes,a magical charm or incantation.” However, I was intrigued by the second definition unintelligible language.” I came across another source that noted that “abracadabra is derived from an Aramaic phrase (Avarah K’Davarah) meaning, ‘I will create as I speak.’”  The concept of creating as you speak is so empowering and exciting, as it can be applied to any form of communication, like, ahem, writing. I also think that the chefs on TV should start using it, as they are truly creating while entertaining (although if Rachel Ray makes it one of “her” words I will abandon it for good). 

After peeling back a few more layers of “abracadabra,” I discovered a rich history that excites me greatly. The Online Etymology dictionary notes that the word was a magical formula circa 1696 from “Late Gk. Abraxas, cabalistic or gnostic name for the supreme god, and thus a word of power. It was written out in a triangle shape and worn around the neck to ward off sickness, etc.” It’s fascinating to think that a word now associated with rabbits and cards was once meant to derail a disease. Can you imagine wearing a worded amulet every time you had a cold? Who knows, it will probably return as a hot fall accessory one day. Fashion meets faith healing. Although considering “abracadabra” has cabalistic roots, I’m sure Madonna is already wearing has her own “abracadabra” amulet. 

 

Here’s to the magical power of words!

 

image courtesy of Erin O’Connor

Words of art

Turn your wall worthy words into works of graphic art with my new favorite tool, Wordle. Simply copy and paste text into the site, and Wordle will generate an eye pleasing “word cloud.” Once your text is deconstructed into a fabulous word puzzle, you can then make this creation truly unique by changing the font’s style, size and color. If you need some inspiration, Wordle has a gallery of created masterpieces.

Apartment Therapy mentions that your custom Wordle creation would make a great piece of home decor and I couldn’t agree more. I am thrilled by the fact that I can adorn my walls with words without involving crayons and child-like scribbles. Think of it as a way to play with your words, and as an alphabet soup of letters to be framed.

So the real question is, what words will you get remixed into a new blend? Maybe a favorite quote, a list of the names of your family members (discombobulated family tree), a passage from the book that you’re reading. I’d love to see your Wordle creation, so please comment and share!

Sunday Slanguage: Bling

In my introductory “Sunday Slanguage” post, I received a comment from a fellow blogger who wanted to know a bit more about the glitzy slang word, “bling.” I have encountered “bling” in celebrity magazines, pop music lyrics, and other pop culture realms and know that it references jewelry. However, I did not think that this piece of slanguage would be in a legitimate dictionary, but I was wrong. Merriam-Webster notes that “bling,” “flashy jewelry worn especially as an indication of wealth; broadly: expensive and ostentatious possessions,” can be dated back to 1999. Before making its way into the American pop world, “bling” was being tossed around in Jamaican slanguage. “Bling” in fact refers to the act of light being reflected from a piece of jewelry, usually a diamond. 

I am fascinated by the thought that a new word was created based on the effect that light had on an object. Language is forever being shaped and molded by experiences in our world. Each word that I type is a vibrant object on the screen, rooted in history but slightly malleable for future use. Even slanguage is malleable, as “bling” has now been molded into the new word “eco-bling” (the more specific piece of slanguage that my fellow blogger wanted me to address). According to the user generated Urban Dictionary, “eco-bling” is an object that is eco-friendly while maintaining a certain sense of “bling,” such as fabulous packaging or trendy exterior design. I assume that this term defines eco-related products far removed from yellowish brown hemp skirts, and instead refers to jewelry made with recycled materials.

I have to wonder if “eco-bling” represents products that those use to merely indicate that they are eco-friendly, just as “bling” makes reference to those that are ostentatious. I would love to think that those sporting “eco-bling” in the form of jewelry, t-shirt, car, etc., truly live an eco-friendly life and are not using this object to follow a brief green trend. Hopefully “eco-bling” becomes a staple in slanguage and does experience a one-hit wonder word moment. Happy “Eco-blinging”

 

image courtesy of EverJean

Here's to our "friends"

As I’m sitting here typing on my lovely friend’s computer, I feel quite moved to delve into the word “friend.” Over the years, my definition of “friend” has varied from the girl who shared her toys with me, to the girls that whispered middle school secrets over the phone late at night, to the women who I hold near and dear to my heart and have stood by me through moments of bruised emotions and contagious laughter.

“Friend” is word that is hard to capture in a definition, as it is ever evolving. However, an aspect of its etymology rings quite true upon reading it: “O.E. freond, prp. of freogan ”to love, to favor,” from P.Gmc. *frijojanan ”to love” (cf. O.N. frændi, O.Fris. friund, M.H.G. friunt, Ger. Freund, Goth. frijonds ”friend,” all alike from prp. forms).” With any friendship, you choose to spend your time with this person, “favoring” his or her company over others, and extending your love towards them. The etymology has sustained over the years, and has not lingered far from its 12th century origin.  

Merriam-Webster notes that “friend” is “one attached to another by affection or esteem.” There is a gentle quality associated with the etymology and definition of “friend” that makes it sparkle. The word is truly a badge of honor that is worn by selected individuals in our life. 

 

image courtesy of freeparking

Wear your words…on your neck

We all have a favorite word, or at least a word we use so much that our friends can’t wait to throw a thesaurus at us. So why not celebrate that favorite word in a non permanent way that you won’t regret in the morning (“bubba” in blue ink on your right arm doesn’t look so great in sunlight). The lovely ladies at Brookadelphia sell fabulous necklaces with wordy charms, like “post modern,” “snitch,” “librarian,” “punk rock,” “sick,” “cheese,” and my favorite, “read” (they have several more, but I’d rather not have this post turn into a list). Brookadelphia is “a sisterly collaboration.” The two lovely ladies “make jewelry with a sprinkle of sophistication, a dash of irony and a heaping teaspoon of street cred.” 

Maybe your favorite word (that you’d like to hold near and dear to your neck) didn’t seem to make their list. If so, you’re in luck, because Brookadelphia will create custom orders for any word or phrase. Go ahead, break out the dictionary and find your favorite word to accessorize your outfit. 

As I’m sitting here trying to think of a single word that I would wear on my neck, I am very torn. I love that I have found yet another way to express my love for words, but this pressure to make a decision is killing me. I have to start generating a list and then make the final cuts. I feel compelled to pick a word that is timeless and is a representation of who I am, but maybe I’ll just get wild and pick at random. Wow, now that is not what I’d call “breaking free,” but it certainly would be a wordy adventure. I just hope I don’t end up with “germ” or “bacteria,” because there is no way to justify wearing those words on a necklace.

While we’re on the subject of the “necklace,” let’s take a quick ride down etymology lane. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, “necklace” can be dated back to 1590 and comes from “neck (q.v.) + lace in the sense of ‘cord, string.’” As much as I love a complicated story of words, this simple statement is to the point and just enough info for tonight.

 

So my question for you is this: If you had to choose just one word to wear on a necklace, what would it be and why? No pressure, well maybe a little.

 
image courtesy of brookadelphia

Shhh it's a secret

Whispering into one’s ear, quickly passing a note that has been folded into a square the size of your thumb,  a spot where you meet friends back in the woods, and pinky-swearing. All of these experiences and things relate to the word “secret.” 

“Secret,” both an adjective and a noun, can be dated back to the 14th century.

The adjective version of “secret” is defined as:

1 a: kept from knowledge or view : hidden b: marked by the habit of discretion : closemouthed c: working with hidden aims or methods : undercover <a secret agent> d: not acknowledged : unavowed <a secret bride>e: conducted in secret <a secret trial>2: remote from human frequentation or notice : secluded3: revealed only to the initiated : esoteric4: designed to elude observation or detection <a secret panel>5: containing information whose unauthorized disclosure could endanger national security — compare confidentialtop secret

As a noun, “secret” is defined as: 

1 a: something kept hidden or unexplained : mystery b: something kept from the knowledge of others or shared only confidentially with a few c: a method, formula, or process used in an art or operation and divulged only to those of one’s own company or craft : trade secret dplural : the practices or knowledge making up the shared discipline or culture of an esoteric society2: a prayer traditionally said inaudibly by the celebrant just before the preface of the mass3: something taken to be a specific or key to a desired end <the secret of longevity>
— in secret : in a private place or manner

“Secret” is in fact a major component in several other words, such as “open secret,” “secret ballot,” “secret partner,” “secret police,” “secret service,” “secret society,” “top secret,” “trade secret.” I’m not sure what that says about society, but we seem to be well versed in being secretive.

My memories of this word are those spoken in hushed voices. It evokes images of shadows, hidden passages and locked drawers. 

What are your favorite secrets? Well, I guess you might not tell.

 

image courtesy of A Touch of Glass