Strangely enough, all of the regular content eye-catching words start with the letter “P.”
paucity: smallness of quantity, n.
reporters note that rockets fired from Gaza are aimed at Israeli civilians,
although they note the comparative paucity of Israeli victims,” in Ben L.
Kaufman’s Curmudgeon Notes. Yet again, another week of worthy comments on the
shortcomings of journalistic coverage. His comments on the reporting of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict are important albeit hard to understand.
portend: to foreshadow, v. (used with an object)
“What does this all portend for the live presence of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah?” in Brian Baker’s Sound Advice for the CYHSY show. Actually, that’s a great question, considering the band used to have four members and at least three of them have left the group since 2011. I’m curious how this resolves itself on Fountain Square this Friday night.
prescient: to have knowledge of something before it exists, adj.
example of how prescient the Alvins believe Broonzy to have been …” in Steven
Rosen’s Bond of Brothers, describing the relationship two really old guys have
with a record done by an even older guy that they listened to in their
Worst Politicians Vocabulary
apprised: to inform or tell someone, v.
“Dayton explained he had been credibly, confidently apprised that the Capitol itself would be shortly laid waste by terrorists,” in Neal Karlen’s description of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. Who apprised him of that?
Also, who knew that someone who gave his own tenure in the Senate an “F” could be elected governor on a pity vote? I didn’t know it was so easy but then again, I don’t have $4 million to finance my own campaign.
moribund: in a dying state, near death, adj.
“A defrocked demagogue, she still pretends her Tea Party is a reactionary revolution, not a moribund refuge for the Republicans’ traditional bloc of bat-shit crazy far-right-wingers,” in Karlen’s bit on Minnesota U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann.
I hope Karlen’s use of moribund in relation to the Tea Party is accurate, but considering Bachmann’s talk of another presidential run in 2016, it may be wishful thinking. Karlen (if you ever read this), brace yourself because I’m sure you’ll have to cover that.
Shout-out to Karlen, by the way, for using one of my personal favorite phrases, “bat-shit crazy.” I keep trying to convince my mother it’s a thing because obviously, it’s a thing.
opprobrium: harsh criticism or censure, n.
“… Jan Brewer affixed her signature to the infamous, immigrant-bashing Senate Bill 1070 and rode a wave of xenophobia to electoral triumph… and liberal opprobrium,” in Stephen Lemons description of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. It wasn’t just “liberal opprobrium,” considering the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a lot of the law as unconstitutional. Take that, Jan Brewer.
When I was learning how to insert the photos, our design editor specifically said, “Use the photo where she’s laughing like the devil.”
troglodyte: a prehistoric cave-dweller, a person of degraded character or a person unacquainted with affairs of the world, n.
“DeMint backed Todd ‘Legitimate Rape’ Akin, Richard ‘God Wants Rape Babies’ Mourdock and a host of other troglodyte true-believers,” in Chris Haire’s bit on South Carolina former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint. Troglodyte is the word of the week, hands down. Pick whatever definition you want, they all apply. Props to Haire for his ability to find the perfect word for such people. DeMint was one of my personal favorites on the list, for his views that gays and unwed heterosexual women having sex shouldn’t be allowed to teach in public schools. I’d love to hear his plans for unwed heterosexual men and how he would like to enforce these ideas.
state schools in Indiana (or at least Ball State) start school really early
(like August 18) so I’m heading back to Muncie and you lovely people only have
one more week until you probably won’t notice the fabulous words in CityBeat
anymore. Please return next week for my going away Fiesta Edition. I just made
Maybe the summer heat is stifling the writers’ vocab, (or they were out having too much fun this weekend at Bunbury) but there weren’t very many vocab words this week. That being said, that’s no excuse to let your vocabulary get stagnant, we’ll go with what we have …
requisite: a thing necessary for the achievement of a specific end, n.
My college education hasn’t thus far outright taught me this word, but now I see I knew it all along. I know perfectly well “prerequisite” means “course you need to take before you take you’re smart enough to take the one you really want.” So a requisite is also something that is necessary. It seems that requisite and prerequisite are synonyms (so Google tells me), why are they both needed?
In the issue: “Don’t forget the requisite potato pancake on the side,” referring to Rascals’ NY Deli in the Doggie Day in Amberley Village picnic option. I agree, potato products are a requisite for happiness — a good picnic, I mean. Is it lunchtime yet?
sycophantic: using flattery to win favor from those with influence, adj.
Without reading the definition, finish this sentence: If a journalist can be described as sycophantic, that journalist is also … ? Got nothing? Me either. Let’s get straight to the context clues.
In the paper: “Part of the problem, Sullivan said, is the failure of sycophantic Times writers and editors to ‘challenge and vet the views of these government sources,’ ” in this week’s edition of Ben L. Kaufman’s Curmudgeon Notes. In the past three weeks, we’ve heard about mislabeled sources, shield laws and jingoistic editorials — anybody else miss Worst Week Ever?
Bonus Round: The bonus round is just as long as the regular round, folks.
nascent: a process or organization coming into existence and displaying signs of future potential, adj. Like when you read blog the first week you thought, “the nascent copy editing blog.” Scavenger Hunt! Maybe I’m crazy but I can’t seem to find this word in the issue …
Exclusive cultural lesson for the week!
So there’s a movie out now called And So It Goes, with Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton. TT-stern-enzi (in a preview that was cut for space) described Keaton’s role in the film world right now as the woman that gets the lothario male character to settle down a la As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson. I’m not a movie previewer but maybe the preview will get posted online today (I don’t know, I’m not the web editor or anything).
So Lothario is the name of the male character in The Impertinent Curiosity, a metastory in Don Quixote. Lothario is a seducer of woman, giving his name use as a noun meaning, “a man who behaves selfishly and irresponsibly in his sexual relationships with women.”
one’s a two-for-one — two new, funky-sounding words that combine into one phrase. If you have any
knowledge of Spanish desserts, you probably inferred that dulcet meant sweet, as
dulce describes something as sweet en Español. No phonetic/origin hints I'm aware of for warble, though.
In the paper: Brian Baker describes Buckle Up performer Ashley Monroe as, “It wasn’t difficult to hear Dolly Parton in Monroe’s dulcet warble.” In her dulcet warble? What’s a dulcet warble? Do I have one? Unfortunately upon reading the definition I realized I do not have a dulcet warble, probably one of the reasons I’m not performing in the Buckle Up festival.
purveyor: a supplier of goods
and provisions, n.
This stood out because it sounds antiquated. Who counts as a purveyor in 2014? Rachel Podnar, purveyor of vocabulary…
In the paper: Baker’s Top Ten Buckle Up Acts gets two nods for vocab with “Arlo McKinley and the band of Country purveyors he’s dubbed the Lonesome Sound.” If only Bunbury’s Alternative Pop/Rock/Country inspired the same illustrious vocabulary as Buckle Up’s Country does, then then the vocab distribution in the two articles would be even (but who's counting?).
Quis custodiet ipsos custodies: Latin, who shall keep watch over the guardian? Phrase.
Here’s a phrase I’ve never heard before and I’m sure I’ll never say in conversation.
In the paper: OK, maybe when you read this in Ben L. Kaufman’s column “Who Guards the Guardians?” questioning the Obama administration's seemingly limited understanding of how a free press works. The phrase just popped up out of nowhere, but it was followed by “Who guards the guardians? Obama? Holder?” and you probably thought, ‘Gee, I bet that Latin means who guards the guardians.’ I personally didn’t put that together but now I know better.
visceral: either characterized by instinct rather than intellect or characterized by coarse or base emotions, adj.
Visceral is the kind of word you’re familiar with but not familiar enough to use it in conversation so now that you’re clear on the definition, get out there and start describing all the visceral things in your life.
In the paper: Brian Baker used it in his Sound Advice describing “Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires,” (aka one of the most confusing band names for a copy editor) when he said “visceral Garage Rock sugar helps the medicine of re-examining sins and scars of Southern suppression go down.” What a sentence. I think visceral Garage Rock might make remembering suppression worse but that’s just me.
summarily: in a prompt or direct manner, or without notice adv.
Summarily isn’t a “big word” but it doesn’t mean what you think it would mean. Given its similarity to “summary” I thought “summarily” meant an adverb form of “a short description of all of its parts,” but I can’t think of how that could function as an adverb and I’m sure no one else could either so they threw a new definition at it.
In the paper: Summarily is the weekly word from Kathy Y. Wilson, this time in her strongly-worded argument against Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper program, which “summarily dismisses that while black and Latino boys are suffering, black and Latino women are suffering more than anyone else.” Looks like Obama caught some flack from both of our columnists this week.
sure to check out the issue (and subsequently this blog) before the Fourth of
July food coma and drunken stupor sets in. That doesn't give you much time so you'd better get started ...
Autodidactic: like a self-taught person, adj.
could have figured this out without wordreference.com if I would have just
thought about it a little bit — auto,
meaning self and dictact, meaning
teaching. It makes sense; it’s just that people use this word even less than
they learn things for themselves.
In the paper: “I just wanted to write because, autodidactic as I am, I had the sense to know that writers write,” in Kathy Y. Wilson’s “No. 104.” Can I make a joke about Kathy’s autodidactic deduction? Yes, writers write, but as opposed to what, exactly?
Cogent: appealing to the mind or reason, adj.
can’t think of a cogent reason why I like this word, but I do. FYI, it’s
In the paper: Looks like Kathy Y. Wilson pulled a double-vocab-hitter this week, “He [Danny Cross] said cogent things to me about my voice, my skill set and my value to this city” in “No. 104,” describing how our editor got her to start writing this column two years ago. I can’t really imagine Danny saying anything cogent (jokes, jokes) but whatever he said must have worked if she’s been back for 104 weeks of columns (much more impressive than my short tenure as copy editor/blogger).
Epocha: the beginning of a distinctive period in the history of anything, n.
turn to Epoch in your dictionary, because even the 1913 Webster’s Dictionary
said so. Epocha is the Latin version of epoch because John Adams just had to be
In the paper: Although it appeared in Isaac Thorn’s “The Fourth of July and Me” sidebar, the credit for this one goes to John Adams. Apparently he screwed up pretty big time when he thought what we celebrate as the Fourth of July was supposed to the Second of July. “The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha in the History of American,” Adams said.
Je ne sais quoi: French phrase, meaning a quality that cannot be described or expressed, n.
borrowed from other languages that we are supposed to understand when used in
an English sentence are hard. I know what déjà
vu and pièce de résistance mean,
but come on, isn't this the Fourth of July issue?
the paper: Shout out to “Beygency Officer” Jac Kern aka Arts and Culture Editor
for mixing in some French with her English this week. Also for changing the
masthead to say “Beygency Officer,” I’m guessing because she had the privilege
of attending Beyoncé and Jay Z’s On the Run show this past weekend. I
personally have never seen the ‘90s lifetime movie The Face on the Milk Carton so I can’t give you a hint as to what Jac meant when she wrote "[The new MTV series Finding Carter] could be watchable, but will surely lack that '90's lifetime movie je ne sais quoi," in her TV roundup. I did, however, try and read the eponymous book
when I was in fifth grade, but I was 11 years old and I distinctly remember
being uncomfortable with the teenage sexual tension between the main character
and her neighbor.
I give Jac *Pick of the Week* this week because the Beygency Officer thing was so funny and I haven’t thought about The Face on the Milk Carton since 2005 and she taught us all some French.
Pilsner: a tall slender footed glass for beer, n.
I read this in the paper, I thought "Wow I wonder what a pilsner is," and I was
extremely disappointed when Google Images just showed what I would describe as
a “beer glass but not a stein.” Maybe you all knew what a pilsner was (it is
also a type of beer) and I’m just showing my age (20) or lack of class.
In the paper: “These boys know how to have fun and get a laugh, whether it’s drinking wine out of a pilsner glass…” in Nick Grever’s “Kings of Power” about the comically named Martin Luther and the Kings band. Now that I now what a pilsner glass is, I can appreciate the quantities of wine they drink during rehearsal.
Bonus round: This is more grammar than vocab, but which is correct, upward or upwards? It’s always upward, regardless of what you may say in conversation. Upward as in “The car cost upward of $30,000,” according to my handy dandy 2012 Associated Press Stylebook.
Aegis: used in the idiom “under the aegis of,” meaning sponsored or supported by, n.
I’m sure we’ve all read this word, using context clues for the correct definition, but I wonder how often it gets thrown around in conversation. Does anyone know how to pronounce aegis? I’m thinking AGEis, aGIS. After hitting up Merriam-Webster for a robot audio pronunciation, it’s Egis. Your next challenge is finding a way to casually incorporate it in conversation, pronouncing it correctly.
In the paper: “under LCT’s aegis” in Rick Pender’s "Curtain Call" column for the week on the League of Cincinnati Theatres Award.
Ephemera: a class of collectable items not originally intended to last more than a short time, n.
*Pick of the Week* I like this because it’s a niche word. It can only be used to describe stuff like trading cards and tickets, which is awesome. I wonder which was used first, the adjective ephemeral, which can be used to describe anything fleeting, or the more selective noun?
paper: “there is little fortune in ephemera like the card,” shout-out to Maria
Seda-Reeder for using ephemera correctly, describing the 1940s business card of
a creepy, self-appointed “dealer of love” in “Another Man’s Treasure.” Also, if
I may say, I smiled at the title because I thought "No, not one man’s trash — that’s
another man’s come-up." Come-up, if you don’t know, means
something like “cool stuff found in a thrift store” and Macklemore's “Thrift Shop” brought it into colloquial use.
Irascible: irritable, adj.
This is one of those words where I can feel what it’s supposed to bring to the sentence just by the way it looks and is pronounced, but I couldn’t come up with a single synonym because I really have no idea and the “feel” of a word is something I just made up.
In the paper: “a portrait of irascible President Lyndon Johnson.” Rick Pender pulled a double vocab hitter in “Curtain Call,” as you know he also gave us this week’s “aegis.” Should he get “Vocab Master” of the week? Fun fact, I learned from Ben L. Kaufman’s “On Second Thought” that theater-writer Pender is a former CityBeat arts editor. Maybe you already were aware. Perhaps some of the current editors will follow Pender’s lead and include some more daring vocabulary in their issue contributions.
Incursion: hostile invasion of territory, n.
This is basically just a fancy version of “invasion,” which I’m guessing is more widely understood. I’d like to note incursion is the opposite of excursion, which we all know is an outing.
In the paper: “The Avengers repelled an alien incursion of planet Earth,” in tt stern-enzi’s cover story on summer movies. He used “incursion” because “invasion” was just too mundane.
Relegate: to send something to a lower ranking, v.
Relegate is extremely obvious from context clues and this probably isn’t a new vocab word for anyone. But as a copy editor, I had to ask ‘Why didn’t she just use “delegate” instead? Technically, delegate would work because it also means to elect something to represent something else, but Kathy Y. Wilson was trying to convey a demotion of sort, hence relegate was the precise verb for the job. Bravo.
paper: “pitbulls have been relegated to outcast status,” in Kathy Y. Wilson’s
“Wagging the Dog.”
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
writers' choices of words. She rounds up and recaps the best ones here.
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.
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
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
Check back next week, too. I’ll be documenting the growing body of words known to me here on the blog until August.
It turns out we did pretty well, though, winning first-place
in six non-daily categories, including the Best in
Ohio: Alternatives contest. Our staff photographer Jesse Fox earned second-place for Best in Ohio: Photographer, a high honor as she was up against all the big
papers and magazines in the state.
Here's a full list of winners and finalists in the statewide competition. CityBeat's work that earned recognition is listed below. Congrats to all, including our former colleagues who now work for the Cincinnati Business Courier and Vox Media. (Missu guys!)
FIRST PLACE: “Spill It” by Mike Breen
FIRST PLACE: “The Linguistics of Legislation: Reviewing the outdated, overly conservative and just plain funny laws still on the books” by Hannah
McCartney and Maija Zummo
FIRST PLACE: "From the Inside: Inmates told CityBeat about violence, staff ineptitude and unsanitary conditions inside Ohio's private prison. Then came the surprise inspections." by
Arts & Entertainment
FIRST PLACE: "Legally Banned: The secret complaints and controversial characters behind the firing of Loveland High School's drama instructor" by Danny Cross
Community / Local Coverage
FIRST PLACE: “Streetcar Coverage” by German Lopez
Best in Ohio: Alternatives
FIRST PLACE: Cincinnati CityBeat Staff
Best in Ohio: Photographer
SECOND PLACE: "Body of Work" by Jesse Fox (See images below.)
This year we did pretty OK again, receiving six first-place and 13 runner-up awards from the Cincinnati chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for work produced in 2013. Six pieces are also finalists in the Cleveland Press Club’s statewide awards, which will be announced June 6.
CityBeat photographer Jesse Fox won the Cincinnati SPJ’s “Best Feature Photography” award for a collection of work that is also a finalist in the Cleveland contest. Arts & Culture Editor Jac Kern’s “I Just Can’t Get Enough” column won the local “Lifestyle Reporting” visual communication category, and Contributing Arts Editor Steven Rosen won the Cincy SPJ’s “Arts/Entertainment Critique” award for a collection of his "The Big Picture" columns. Editor Danny Cross won first in the “Editorial” category for an angry essay titled “Cincinnati’s 1 Percent,” and CityBeat’s “The Answers Issue” took first for “Lifestyle Feature.” CityBeat also won “Best Weekly Newspaper” in Cincinnati and is a finalist for “Best Non-Daily Newspaper in Ohio: Alternatives."
Other finalists for the Cleveland Press Club’s statewide awards were “The Linguistics of Legislation,” by Hannah McCartney, Maija Zummo and Julie Hill in the “Features: General” category, and German Lopez’s collection of streetcar coverage in “Community/Local Coverage.” Lopez’s investigation into Ohio’s dysfunctional private prison, “From the Inside,” is a finalist for the “Public Service” award, as is Cross’ look into the controversial firing of Loveland High School’s drama instructor, “Legally Banned,” for “Arts and Entertainment” reporting. CityBeat Music Editor Mike Breen was again recognized for music writing, as he is a finalist for the Press Club’s “Reviews/Criticism” award.
The following is a complete list of work recognized by the Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists and Cleveland Press Club:
Cincinnati SPJ: First Place Awards
EDITORIAL: “Cincinnati’s 1 Percent” by Danny Cross
LIFESTYLE FEATURE: “The Answers Issue” by CityBeat Staff
ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT CRITIQUE: “The Big Picture” by Steven Rosen
BEST WEEKLY NEWSPAPER: CityBeat
LIEFESTYLE REPORTING: “I Just Can’t Get Enough” by Jac Kern
FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY: Jesse Fox
Cincinnati SPJ: Finalists
GENERAL ASSIGNMENT NEWS STORY: “Restricted Responsibility: Lawsuit argues Miami University should have dismissed alleged rapist for previous violations” by Hannah McCartney; “Testing Faith: Catholic Church fires Purcell Marian assistant principal over support of gay marriage" by Danny Cross
INVESTIGATIVE/ENTERPRISE/DATABASE REPORTING: “Legally Banned: The secret complaints and controversial characters behind the firing of Loveland High School's drama instructor" by Danny Cross
CONTINUING COVERAGE OR SERIES: “Streetcar Coverage” by German Lopez
BUSINESS NEWS: “Cleaning House: Janitors strike against New York City-based company contracted by local Fortune 500 companies to clean their buildings” by Hannah McCartney
SPORTS NEWS: “All Part of the Game: Ruling against former Bengals players illustrates the next step in NFL concussion saga” by Bill Sloat and C. Trent Rosecrans
SPORTS FEATURE/ANALYSIS: “A League of Their Own: The Delhi Skirt Game's uniquely flamboyant, 36-year tradition of helping community members in need” by Hannah McCartney
COMMUNITY ISSUES: “Home Invasion?: Planned supportive housing facility has some Avondale residents concerned about its effects on an already plagued neighborhood” by Hannah McCartney
ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT: “Legally Banned: The secret complaints and controversial characters behind the firing of Loveland High School's drama instructor” by Danny Cross
Cleveland Press Club Best in Ohio Finalists:
FEATURES: GENERAL: “The Linguistics of Legislation” by Hannah McCartney, Maija Zummo and Julie Hill
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT: “Legally Banned: The secret complaints and controversial characters behind the firing of Loveland High School's drama instructor” by Danny Cross
COMMUNITY/LOCAL COVERAGE: “Streetcar Coverage” by German Lopez
BEST NON-DAILY NEWSPAPER IN OHIO: ALTERNATIVES: CityBeat
BEST IN OHIO: PHOTOGRAPHER: Jesse Fox
REVIEWS/CRITICISM: “Spill It” by Mike Breen
"As much of America decamped for the suburbs or the coasts, artists, craftspeople, and entrepreneurs rebuilt entire Cincinnati neighborhoods alongside impassioned longtimers," reads an article from the April 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveler.
Cincinnati is more and more getting recognition for our renaissance attitude in national media, and this article touches on everything from our breweries to the 21c and the city's vast collection of every-era architecture and food and nightlife.
Read the full article here.