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June 18th, 2014 By Rachel Podnar | The Morning After | Posted In: Life

From the Copy Desk

In case you need a dictionary with the June 18 issue of CityBeat

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from the copy editor
Did you know that it's someone's job to read the entire newspaper searching for everybody else's mistakes? Well it is, and this common method of editorial quality control is my job for the summer — I read every issue of CityBeat (yes, every single page, even the Eats: "Classes and Events," which is painful) and look for typos, misspellings, incorrect facts, AP style or grammar slip ups. I'm trying to catch all of it so the copy you read is clean and you aren't thinking "What the hell was CityBeat on this week?"

It's not just leisure reading. Sometimes the band names are so obscure I can't find them online to fact-check. Can I stop pretending I've heard of any of these groups?

If my enrollment in college means I read at a college level, then some of CityBeat's writers must have doctoral degrees because they're throwing out some pretty ostentatious vocabulary. I keep noticing crazy words I've never heard of and I can’t be the only one. I am, however, the only one who has to check (*cough, editors*). I Google them, just hoping the writer used it incorrectly and I can smirk as I mark it with my red pen. So far, no dice.

Anyways, here’s a roundup of the words that gave me a double take this week. I’ll grab the dictionary so you don’t have to (you probably weren’t planning on it anyway).

Adroit: skillful, adj.

OK, congratulations if you already knew this one, I felt the need to double-check. Turns out I’m not so adroit at vocab, ha.

In the paper: “the sisters are adroit in doing makeup for film production,” in “Style Sisters” about makeup maven duo Andrea and Ashley Lauren. Sounds like the pair is adroit in business savvy as well, they were the first in the Midwest to open up a blowout bar.

Cognoscenti: someone with an informed appreciation, n.

*Pick of the week* Maybe I just like it because of its Italian origin; cognoscenti rolls off the tongue.

I’d never heard it before, but now I’ll be sure to tell everyone what a shopping cognoscenti I am.

In the paper: “the soccer cognoscenti” in this week's cover story, “Ballin’ in Brazil.” You can pretty much get the definition from context clues, but using the French version of the word, synonym "connoisseur," wouldn’t have been the same because, to me, it evokes food. Bonus tidbit: Both cognoscenti and connoisseur are derivatives of the Latin cognōscere, which means, “to know.”

Diaspora: the dispersion of a group from the same culture, n.  

I think diaspora may be experiencing a moment lately. I’ve run into it a few times lately, once in reference to the relationship between Russia and the Ukraine.

In the paper: “my family’s diaspora” in Kathy Wilson’s “A Day in the Life.” Wilson uses it to describe the splintering of her immediate family over the years in a piece about randomly running into her brother and a thoughtful longtime reader. 

Eponymous: work named after its creator or central character, adj.

I’m surprised this word isn’t used more often, considering all the situations in which it could be applied. I’m thinking, Spongebob, Forrest Gump and *NSYNC’s self-titled album, all eponymous.

In the issue: “Those Darlins eponymous debut album,” in Sound Advice. Spoiler alert, the album is called “Those Darlins.”

Incisive: keen, acute, adj.

From seeing incisive in the subhead, I assumed metal band Agalloch's music could also be described as “biting.” From reading about the band’s woodsmoke, wrought iron and moss-informed music sensibility, however, I had to check and see if there was another definition. Turns out incisive also means “keen,” which more closely describes the band’s discipline and vision.

In the issue: “incisive metal outfit” in the subhead for music lead story on Agalloch, “The Devil is in the Details.”

Bonus… my favorite word from last week: Amalgam

No, I don’t remember the story it was used in a week ago, but it’s just a noun for a blend or combination. Like, “I enjoy an amalgam of iced decaf from Lookout Joe, Coffemate creamer and Splenda.”

Check back next week, too. I’ll be documenting the growing body of words known to me here on the blog until August.


Rachel Podnar writes "From the Copy Desk" weekly from her desk as CityBeat's intern copy editor. Her job is to find and correct everybody else's mistakes, occasionally referencing a dictionary to check one of our more pretentious educated writers' choices of words. She rounds up and recaps the best ones here.

 
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