Simanaitis Says

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Tag Archives: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

ETYMOLOGY: AT SIXES AND SEVENS

THE WORLD, it has been said, is “at sixes and sevens.” On the other hand, researching this phrase gave me some comforting insight into the practice of etymology and, indeed, … Continue reading

April 21, 2018 · 3 Comments

A GENIUS? THINK AGAIN

I THOUGHT “genius” was a straightforward word, a person of super-high intelligence. However, my old friends Merriam and Webster offer more nuanced definitions and a particularly interesting etymology. For instance, … Continue reading

January 24, 2018 · 1 Comment

BUFFOON, BUFFOONISH, BUFFA

NOT ONLY does the word “buffoon” belong in my Etymology for our Times, there’s an operatic connection as well: Opera buffa is literally “comic opera” as opposed to opera seria, … Continue reading

October 1, 2017 · Leave a comment

LET’S DIFFERENTIATE “BULLY PULPIT” FROM A WRETCHED BULLY

I AM a lover of the English language, with a deep appreciation of Theodore Roosevelt. It was he who characterized the presidency as a “bully pulpit.” But, I note emphatically, … Continue reading

July 3, 2017 · 3 Comments