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Tag Archives: “Merriam-Webster Online” dictionary

ETYMOLOGY: CAITIFF, VARLET PART 1

CAITIFFS! VARLETS! WHAT rare but appropriate words describing too many politicians these days. Merriam-Webster lists “caitiff” as an adjective meaning “cowardly, despicable.” It defines the noun ”varlet” as “attendant, menial; … Continue reading

July 14, 2019 · Leave a comment

ETYMOLOGY: TINHORN, TIN-POT

FOR A WHILE there, I thought I had completed my Etymology for Our Times series. (Google “SimanaitisSays Etymology” for a sampling.) However, on July 4, the bone-spur-challenged president’s reality TV … Continue reading

July 6, 2019 · 1 Comment

ETYMOLOGY: PEEVISH, PETULANT

“PETULANT” WAS the first word that came to mind when I heard Trump’s threat to dump immigrants into U.S.sanctuary cities. But then etymology furthered my enlightenment. According to Merriam-Webster, the … Continue reading

April 16, 2019 · 3 Comments

MATHEMATICAL INDUCTION: DOMINOES OF LOGIC

THE WORD “INDUCTION” has a whole bunch of meanings: Merriam-Webster starts with “the act or process of inducting (as into office),” which is sort of a definitional cop-out: What’s “inducting”? … Continue reading

March 19, 2019 · 2 Comments

STYLISH WRITING PART 1

THERE’S NO SHORTAGE of authorities on writing style, some of them even worth emulating. Readers of SimanaitisSays may already sense my trust in two sources, Merriam-Webster and The Compact Edition … Continue reading

February 20, 2019 · Leave a comment

SEVERAL MATHEMATICAL ETYMOLOGIES

WORDS IN MATHEMATICS have precise meanings. No surprise, this. And sometimes their etymologies have good tales to tell. Let’s look at “theorem,” and two of its related terms, “corollary” and … Continue reading

January 23, 2019 · 2 Comments

ETYMOLOGY: SCOUNDREL

TO QUOTE Trumpery of January 14, 2019, the president said that FBI personnel were “known scoundrels.” Were I a second-grader, I might respond, “It takes one to know one.” Given … Continue reading

January 17, 2019 · Leave a comment