Simanaitis Says

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Tag Archives: “Merriam-Webster”

ETYMOLOGY: HOIST ON ONE’S OWN PETARD

THERE APPEARS to be no shortage of Etymology for our Times words and phrases: To name a few, there are buffoon, charlatan, mendacity—and today’s “hoist on one’s own petard.” What … Continue reading

April 18, 2018 · Leave a comment

ETYMOLOGY: FROM PHONY TO FAWNEY TO FANNY PART 1

THERE ARE times when etymological searches take unexpected turns: I started off with “phony,” certainly an appropriate entry in my Etymology for our Times (EfoT) series. This led, in a … Continue reading

April 13, 2018 · Leave a comment

ETYMOLOGY: TRUMPERY

TODAY’S ADDITION to my series of Etymology for our Times almost wrote itself. For the word “trumpery,” I consulted my usual Merriam-Webster, The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, … Continue reading

January 31, 2018 · 1 Comment

I AM EMBARRASSED

IN MY continuing series of Etymology for our Times, today I examine the word “embarrass.” Merriam-Webster defines its first meaning as “to cause to experience a state of self-conscious distress.” … Continue reading

January 13, 2018 · Leave a comment

TOADY, pl. TOADIES (THERE’S NO LACK OF THEM)

I FIND it odd that the word “toady” dates from not quite 200 years ago. One would have thought such “flatterers in hope of gaining favors” had been around long … Continue reading

January 5, 2018 · 2 Comments

CHARLATAN TRUMP

THERE ARE those of us who would argue that “charlatan” is too kind a word to describe the likes of Donald J. Trump. However, the word has such interesting etymology, … Continue reading

December 13, 2017 · 4 Comments

WITCH HUNT? I’LL SHOW YOU A REAL WITCH HUNT

THE TERM “witch hunt” is appearing with increasing regularity in the news, and this has encouraged me to investigate the real thing, not just in relation to cornered politicos such … Continue reading

July 13, 2017 · Leave a comment