Good late morning readers! It's time to take another look at the Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue and the general absurdities of the English language.
I once spent a lot of time in Columbus teaching largely illiterate adults how to read and write English. (Most were recent immigrants from India.) And let me tell you, trying to explain a sentence like: "Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present" to a person with little or no English skills is tough. Or how about "The bandage was wound around the wound" or "She was close to the door so she closed it."
It's a complicated language, riddled with nuances and mysterious rules. The adults I taught, many of whom had never taken a formal English course in their lives, astounded me with their sheer enthusiasm to take it on.
It's hard, ya'll. Even I mess it up on a daily basis, and reading and writing is, like, my job. Reading CityBeat has expanded my arsenal of adult words, though, and it will expand yours, too. Pick up this week's issue! Read it! Learn!
OK, onto the best word in this week's issue: bifurcated, in Kathy Y. Wilson's fatigued editorial regarding the criminal justice system.
bifurcated: having two branches or peaks; forked (adj.)
In this issue: "In those hands, blackness morphs into rage, disappointment, property damage, protests, shame, splintered loyalties and proof, once and for all, that we are indeed living in Two Americas, a bifurcated landscape where, after all these generations together, we steadfastly still refuse to accept and/or respect the complexities of race."
Next best word is nadir, found in our cover story, a really interesting and well written piece on the litany of issues facing the county morgue and crime lab.
nadir: that point of the celestial sphere directly opposite to the zenith and directly below the observer; the lowest point (adj.)
In this issue: "Sales tax receipts in the county have grown $9 million since their recession nadir in 2009."
Next word is idyll. I can't figure out where this word actually appeared in the issue, but I know it's in there somewhere. I'll give you the definition anyway, because two words just isn't enough:
idyll (can always be spelled idyl): a short poem or prose work describing a simple, peaceful scene of rural or pastoral life; a scene or incident suitable for such a work (n.)
And here's a random sentence with it, via the Almighty Google: "But the appearance of a pastoral idyll conceals a poverty trap."
Happy holidays, readers.
Good morning readers.
Well, we're in the thick of the holiday season. There's Christmas decor and Christmas music in every store and the expectation to attend holiday office parties, secret Santa games and family get-togethers. For those of you who find this terrifying, exhausting or nerve wracking, check out our latest issue: "In Defense of Everything You Think You Hate About the Holidays." It'll remind you that not everything this special time of year is awful. That scaring children into good behavior for toys has its benefits. That mother-in-laws aren't all pestering shrews, and eggnog, when made just right, is fluffy and delicious. Pick one up!
Now onto the matter at hand: vocab. There were plenty of Words Nobody Knows of Uses in this week's issue. Three of them were found in the review of The Mercer OTR, by Anne Mitchell. The first pretentious word (though not the issue's best) is scenester, which sounds very close to sinister.
scenester: one who associates with a prominent, usually fashionable, group of people (n.)
I can safely say that I am not a scenester.
In this issue: "Many of the newest places appeal to a scenester crowd, happy to hang out and wait for a table in the crunch of friends."
Next up is allay.
allay: to lessen, relieve, or alleviate pain, grief, etc. (transitive v.) For those of you who haven't had a grammar lesson in years and don't remember what transitive means (like myself), a transitive verb with is an action verb with a direct object. The more you know the more you grow.
In this issue: "They were perfectly seared with brown butter and served over parsnip puree flavored with shiitake mushrooms — one of those dishes where you have to close your eyes when you take a bite to allay the sensory overload." She's talking about scallops here. The entire article did a damn good job at making me hungry well before lunch.
If you're a decent cook you may already know this third word: lardons. Alas, my cooking skills are limited to basic chicken dishes and soup, so I had no idea.
In this issue: "My friend loved her mix of wild bitter greens ($9) with crispy lardons and a poached egg — 'the breakfast salad,' we were advised."
GAH, GIVE ME THAT LARDOON SALAD.
Last on the list of Words Nobody Knows or Uses is hibernal, found in Maija Zummo's delightful essay, "In Defense of Scaring Children into Good Behavior."
hibernal: of, relating to, or occurring in winter
In this issue: "The afterlife mythos that guides the moral compass of adults doesn’t apply to children, only the hibernal horror of a costumed and obese adult male waiting on the roof for them to close their eyes scares them into the black-and-white behavior model of being 'good.' "
Enjoy the weekend, readers!
Afternoon readers! Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's back to the normal grind, at least until Christmas. I hope everyone was able to stuff themselves with turkey and spend time with loved ones.
Let's get to Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue, which, by the way, includes a lovely piece on Ohio's historical markers.
Best word of the issue: cineastes, which appears in TT Stern-Enzi's art piece about MUBI, an innovative new film-streaming service for the "cinematic-minded."
cineastes: plural of cineaste; a film or movie enthusiast, a person involved in filmmaking (n.)
It's an obvious definition, but one I had never heard before.
In this issue: "Since signing up, I have embarked on an old-school word of mouth campaign in support of MUBI, whispering in the ears of cineastes in my inner circle, teasing them with hints about its possibilities."
Next best word is Gramaphone, capital G, found in Stacy Sim's review of Failure: A Love Story. Ancestor to the megaphone? A phone your grandma owns?
Neither. According to Wikipedia, the Gramaphone is a phonograph, the first device for recording and replaying sound (n.)
In this issue: "There are three lovely Graces (Sophia Dewald, Megan Urz, Molly Watson) who narrate rapid-fire the events of the play, a strong Ensemble (Gabby Francis, Colin Kissel, Sarah Allen Shull and Andrew Wiemann) of clocks, birds, a dog, snake and various others, plus a smooth jazz onstage band with vocals to contribute the Gramophone soundtrack."
Mathcore was the next word that caught my eye. Sounds like a really, really unpleasant type of math course. (But I find all types of math unpleasant.) It's in Sound Advice.
Mathcore: a rhythmically complex and dissonant style of metalcore. It has its roots in bands such as Converge, Coalesce, Botch and The Dillinger Escape Plan. The term mathcore is suggested by analogy with math rock. (n.)
Looking up the definition of a music genre is a bit like jumping into a rabbit hole. Each one one is derived from or related to another genre of music that I've never heard of. (If I'm being honest, most of the music genres I've learned feel like a joke.) What is math rock? What is metalcore?
It's obvious that I'm no music expert (hell, when I started to work here I thought there was, like, 10 genres tops) but I can't be the only one who has never heard of mathcore.
In this issue: "Beyond their Spinal Tappish propensity to blow up bassists, Every Time I Die has earned a solid reputation as a scorching live outfit and a stylistically diverse band that has attracted Metal fans of every conceivable sub-stripe, as well as Mathcore and Punk aficionados."
Moving on. Next on the list is commensurate, in Kathy Y. Wilson's thought-provoking piece "On Being White."
commensurate: equal in measure of size; coextensive. corresponding in extent or degree; proportionate. (adj.)
In this issue: "Four: It doesn’t take a sociologist or
statistician to know that white officers just do not shoot and kill
white kids at commensurate rates that they shoot black kids."
Not exactly an uplifting note to end our vocab lesson on, but if you want something to chew on for awhile, read Kathy's piece.
Have a good weekend, readers.
Afternoon, readers! Thanksgiving is almost here, which means an absurd amount of delicious, fattening food and stampedes of greedy consumerists who will overtake the Walmarts and Macys and the Best Buys in the days and weeks following the holiday where you're supposed to be thankful for everything you've already got.
It also means three days of work next week and an early issue. Look for it on stands Tuesday!
(As a side note, if you're like me and will do anything to avoid the hollowed-eyed throngs of shoppers in the days before and after Thanksgiving but still need to get a head start on holiday shopping, check out our gift guide. You're welcome.)
Let's get to the Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this weeks issue. Best word of the issue is loquacious, which I think sounds like salacious? Not sure. It's in Kathy Y. Wilson's editorial on Bill Cosby and his recent string of no good very bad sexual assault accusations by various women.
loquacious: very talkative; fond of talking (adj.)
In this issue: "NPR is the nexus of Cosby’s identity in America as the loquacious raconteur (reality) and the benign All-American Dad (television)."
Loquacious raconteur. I have no idea what a raconteur is either; but it sounds French, so I keep thinking loquacious raconteur with a French accent in my head.
raconteur: a person who tells stories or anecdotes in an amusing and clever way (n.)
Next word is vagaries in this week's Sound Advice.
vagaries: odd or unexpected changes in behavior or actions (n.)
In this issue: "Written and recorded in the winter months after solidifying Spencer and Pressley’s partnership (which came to include the vital input of percussionist/philosopher Ryan Clancy), Wormfood was a song cycle on the vagaries of love and the songs that detail those particular woes."
Last is hamlet, also in Sound Advice.
hamlet: a small village, or a dramatic play written by Shakespeare in the 1600s (n.)
I had no idea hamlet ever meant anything other than Shakespeare's play. CityBeat's pretentious writers have been teaching me so much!
In this issue: "Delavan is a farm country hamlet of less than 2,000 people located about halfway between Chicago and St. Louis."
Enjoy the holidays, readers.
Good afternoon readers! I've spent my day wrestling with terribly out of date software and silently cursing in my sad, grey cube. How's your day been?
If you haven't already noticed, this week marks CityBeat's 20th anniversary. (Hooray!) Our enormous anniversary paper recaps coverage of the issues Cincinnati has grappled with over the last 20 years. Plus, it has a head shot of me from 1994 wearing a purple turtle neck. Pick it up! Or, at the very least, join the staff at the anniversary party tomorrow for delicious food, drinks, and CAKE.
Moving onto the subject at hand...vocab. It was slim pickins' in this week's issue for Words Nobody Uses or Knows. Either that or my knowledge of pretentious words is actually expanding. (Doubt it.)
Best word of the issue is vitriolic, found in our anniversary issue; in the hilarious bit about Mike Breen pissing off all of Cincinnati's Jimmy Buffet fans. (You can read the digital version of our anniversary issue here.)
vitriolic: extremely biting or caustic; sharp and bitter: vitriolic talk (adj.)
In this issue: "This resulted in hundreds of hate emails from Buffett fans from across the country, most of which were nastily vitriolic, some even violently so (one writer said he hoped Breen's children were raped by drug dealers in Over-the-Rhine and given AIDS), a far cry from those smooth tropical vibes Buffit emits from stage."
People are the worst, aren't they?
Next best word is ethnomusicologist, which sounds like the best made up job ever. It's in this weeks Sound Advice.
ethnomusicology: the study of folk or native music, esp. of non-Western cultures, and its relationship to the society to which it belongs (n.)
Imagine introducing yourself to people with that title, and the reactions you'd get. People would be simultaneously confused, amazed and envious.
In this issue: "Huun Huur Tu got the attention of the West when American ethnomusicologist Ted Levin made the trek to Central Asia in the 1980s and brought the group to the U.S"
Next word is missive, also found in our anniversary issue. I feel like most people probably already know this one. It's in the other hilarious bit about that time everybody thought CityBeat was full of sexual deviants for selling adult-themed ads.
missive: a letter or written message (n.)
In this issue: "The missive called on CityBeat to exercise 'integrity as a corporate citizen' and asked that we 'eliminate the adult services category, and refuse to accept ads elsewhere for sexual services, in both your print and online editions.'"
If there's anything I've learned about the altweekly business in the three months I've worked here, it's that if you're being sued, you're doing something right.
Good late morning readers! After an absence last week it's good to be back. I found plenty of Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue. (If you're feeling as hopeless about the midterm election results as I am maybe some vocab will cheer you up? Eh. Not likely, but we can try!)
Best word in this weeks issue is proscenium, found in Garin Pirnia's piece about a super cool new music venue in OTR. On its own, proscenium sounds like a name of a body part (but I never trust my gut on these things; it's usually wrong).
proscenium: the stage of an ancient Greek or Roman theater; the plane separating the stage proper from the audience and including the arch and the curtain within it (n.)
In this issue: "They’ve since gutted the place, leaving the plaster proscenium with light-bulb rosettes as the only original intact interior memorabilia."
Next best word is lascivious, which sounds to me simultaneously sexy and creepy. It's in Rick Pender's review of Into the Woods, the fairytale mash-up at the Covedale Center that earned a Critic's Pick.
lascivious: characterized by or expressing lust or lewdness; wanton; tending to excite lustful desires (adj.)
In this issue: "Alessi also plays the lascivious Wolf." (Pender is referring to the Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood here.) Hmm. The use of this word suddenly seems wrong, very wrong. It's insinuating all sorts of nasty....moving on.)
Ply is the next word that caught my eye. It's in "Battling Barriers," this week's cover story abut sex work in Cincinnati. But seriously, read this.
I momentarily mistook ply for pry, but both words have similar meanings.
ply (as a noun): a layer of fabric, wood or a strand of fiber.
ply (as a verb): to make multiple layers, to work at, to keep supplying or to keep asking questions.
In this issue: "They also point out that not all sex work happens on the streets and claim that the Internet has made it safer and more liberating for those who wish to ply the trade."
Next word is progenitors, in the Sound Advice column for Carcass, a Grindcore and Death Metal band. Whatever that is.
progenitor: a forefather; ancestor in direct line; a source from which something develops; originator or precursor (n.)
In this issue: "Any discussion on the origins of Grindcore and Death Metal absolutely has to include Carcass on the shortlist of the genres’ progenitors."
Diametrically is the last word. I feel that most people already know this one. I do, but four words doesn't seem enough today, so I'll throw it in here.
diametrically: along a diameter; designating an opposite, a contrary, a difference, etc. that is wholly so; complete: diametrical opposites (adj.)
Morning, readers. I haven't had my coffee yet so ... let's skip the intro and jump right into the list of "Words Nobody Uses or Knows" found in this weeks issue.
Best word of this issue is gustatory, found in Rick Pender's warm review of I Loved, I Lost, I made Spaghetti, the current one-woman show at the Playhouse.
gustatory: of or having to do with tasting or the sense of taste (adj.)
In this issue: "Cooking is the thread that runs through her
story, and while she recounts her gustatory encounters — portraying
Giulia’s lovers vividly using her physical and vocal talents — LaVecchia
simultaneously prepares and serves a meal of antipasti, salad and
spaghetti Bolognese (with fresh pasta she’s made as she talks) to four
couples, seated right in front of her kitchen counter." Sounds delightful. I'd attend this gustatory show with gusto. (See what I do there?)
Next best word is demarcate, found in Garin Pirnia's review of Fireside Pizza, a food truck-turned-brick and-mortar restaurant. (Another pizza place in Cincinnati!? Great! There aren't enough of those!)
demarcate: to set or mark the limits; delimit; to mark the difference between, distinguish (v.)
In this issue: "After making a selection and ordering at the bar, guests receive a record sleeve to demarcate their table."
beleaguered: beset by trouble or difficulty (adj.) We have a beleaguered office building. Like, really beleaguered. In the span of just a week and a half our elevator broke, bits of ceiling fell to the floor, a fluorescent light fixture fell (and is now hanging haphazardly form the ceiling) and the heat, well, it's on and off.
But you know. We here at CityBeat like to live on the edge. Heat?! That's for LOSERS.
Another one that caught my eye is ectrodactyly, which I think is a great-sounding word (I'm not even sure I can pronounce it) with a not-so-great meaning. It's in Jac Kern's weekly TV roundup.
ectrodactyly: the deficiency or absence of one or more central digits of the hand or foot (n.)
In this issue: "Evan Peters as a man with ectrodactyly (giving him lobster
Good morning readers! I can hardly believe it's October. This week's issue of CityBeat is full of wonderful, esoteric words. (It also has the information you need to enjoy FotoFocus 2014, the month-long celebration of photography and lens-based art throughout Greater Cincinnati. Pick one up!)
Best word in this week's issue: besmirched, in Kathy Y. Wilson's "The Semantics of Weed" (This is probably the only article anywhere in which the words "ISIS air strike" and "weed" are used in the same sentence).
besmirched: To besmirch is to dirty or spoil something or to damage someone's reputation (v.)
In this issue: "Winburn drops Thomas’ name like an ISIS air strike, incessantly blaming Thomas for the original 2006 weed ordinance that besmirched the records of weed offenders charged with minor misdemeanors who now have problems securing jobs, housing, etc."
Or, as Carrie Nation (a radical member of the 19th century temperance movement) once said:
“Men are nicotine-soaked,
beer-besmirched, whiskey-greased, red-eyed devils.”
Next best word: titular, in the preview of the movie Annabelle.
tiltular: of, or having the nature of, a title; titled (adj.) Not to be confused with the word titillating, which has a much different meaning, but try saying titillating titular three times fast.
In this issue: "In a world filled with sequels, prequels and spin-offs developed off the flimsiest of premises, Annabelle arrives with solidly built awareness thanks to the presence of the titular doll in last year’s horror release The Conjuring from James Wan (Saw)"
Panoply: beautiful and striking set up, magnificent decor or clothing, or a protective covering. (n.)
In this issue: It actually appears in the headline "Bind Dancers Present a Panoply of Authentic Indian Dance", a piece by Katy Valin on Articulate Ability.
And lastly, moniker, in Mike Breen's Spill It. I guessed that moniker meant monkeys, or had something to do with monkeys, or maybe money, but no.
moniker: a name or nickname.
In this issue: "Despite moving from the state park and changing the moniker, the fest will continue to spotlight some of the region’s finest Bluegrass and Roots music practitioners."
Hey, readers. We’ve got some catching up to do.
As CityBeat’s new Web & Copy Editor, I’ll be taking over our weekly vocab blog, in which I’ll point out, define (and sometimes snicker at) the high-minded choice of words by some of our writers. These are obtuse words, or at least words that aren’t used in everyday language, like seraphic or anthemic. (Full disclosure: I have a master’s degree and I still reach for the dictionary at least once or twice a day.)
My goal is to define so you don’t have to, and to (hopefully) enhance your mental catalog of impressive and/or strange-sounding words.
Here’s the list this week:
Seraphic: of, like, or befitting a seraph (adj.) OK, great, what the hell is a seraph? A seraph, according to dictionary.com, is “a member of the highest order to angels, often represented as a child’s head with wings above, below, and on each side.” (n.) Thus, we can deduce seraphic means angelic, heavenly or cherubic.
In the issue: Actually, seraphic appears in the band lineup of our MPMF guide here. Garin Pirnia says we’ll like the MPMF band Mutual Benefit (who?) if we like “ ‘Post-lunar Buddha turds,’ seraphic glockenspiel music mixed with unpredictable soundscapes, cats chasing butterflies.” (Another disclosure: I don’t know any of the bands kids these days are listening to, nor do I have any idea what Buddha turds are.)
Anthemic: pertaining to music that has the qualities of an anthem, such as a serious tone and strong tune; also, regarded as an anthem (adj.) This seemed obvious after I read it. STILL, Microsoft Word doesn’t recognize anthemic as a real word.
In the issue: “Extracted from a dream, Holiday fashions an anthemic fistpumper that nods to Muse, Bruce Springsteen, and U2…” in Brian Baker's review of Caged Heat. Does the name Caged Heat conjure up unpleasant images for anybody else?
Arcane: known or understood by very few; mysterious; secret (adj.)
In this issue: “Tonya Beckman brings up a studied
tongue-in-cheek, choreographed delivery to the role of “Club Secretary,”
the sexy-tuxedoed character who guides club members through their
arcane selection process,” in Rick Pender’s latest Curtain Call column.