Good morning readers! After a break last week, I'm back at it. I know you've all been waiting anxiously for your next vocabulary lesson. (And by that I mean not at all.)
This week, Kathy Wilson's editorial on the infamous letter the mayor of Norwood penned to Norwood's police department is full of Words Nobody Uses or Knows. Well, just four, but that's a lot for one article. I'll start with my favorite: bon mot. In French, bon mot literally translates to good word. (Woo! All my years of French classes finally paid off!)
In the states, though, bon mot is defined as an apt, clever, or witty remark (n.)
In this issue: "In a letter dated Dec. 22 that has now come to light, Norwood Mayor Thomas F. Williams penned a bon mot to the Norwood Police Department slamming black civil rights leaders and do-nothing politicians, warning officers — like a roll call from a long-ago episode of Hill Street Blues — to 'be careful out there,' ending that he, for one, will always have their backs."
Next best word in Kathy's piece is flummoxed, which is pronounced flum-eks. (I kept thinking it was pronounced flu-mox.)
flummox: to confuse or perplex someone (trans. verb)
In this issue: "People are talking about you in these streets and they’re mainly flummoxed by your letter and how it and you can go unnoticed."The third word in Kathy's editorial that caught my eye is kowtowing.
The other pretentious word in this week's issue, polymath, was found in Anne Arenstein's piece on Opera Fusion. It sounds very much like an algebra word (anybody remember polynomials? *shudder*) but it means a person of great and diversified learning (n.) Poly is Greek is for multiple or more than one. Makes sense!
That's all I've got, readers, enjoy the weekend!
Good late morning readers! Let's jump right into Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue. (But first, you know I have to say it: Pick up a copy! We feature Cincinnati's Best New Bands of 2015. It's a great way to discover new groups and pretend that you're hip.)
Alright, best word of the issue is zeitgeist, found in Reyan Ali's piece on Motion City Soundtrack. It's a word that reminds me of Rhinegeist brewery, in Over-the-Rhine.
zeitgeist: the spirit of the time; the taste and outlook characteristic of a period or generation (n.)
OH MAN, connection. Rhinegeist: probably derived from the word zeitgeist. According to the Rhinegeist webpage, the name translates to "ghost of the Rhine". (So THAT'S why their logo is a skull.) I've never understood the meaning of their funky name or logo until now.
I'm really not with it, am I.
In this issue: "It’s a short but telling story that isn’t so much a criticism of Motion City as it is a reflection on contemporary culture — lives have been lived, fans have moved on from onetime passions (or at least not kept up their sites) and certain scenes don’t stimulate the zeitgeist as they once did."
Moving on. Next best word is shoehorning, found in Sound Advice. (It's always the music writers, isn't it?) OK, this may be an obvious word, but honestly, I've never heard of it.
shoehorn: to force or squeeze into a narrow space (v.); an implement of metal, horn, plastic, etc. with a troughlike blade, inserted at the back of a shoe to aid in slipping the heel in (n.)
In this issue, used as a verb: "Adam Schatz and his merry band of Rock provocateurs kick up a sonic maelstrom that operates under the broad umbrella of Art Rock, with subtle hints of Afrobeat, Funk, Jazz, Reggae, Doo Wop, New Wave and anything else the musicians feel like shoehorning into the proceedings as long as it effectively serves the song at hand."
I've never used a shorhorn to put on shoes in my life. If you've gotten to that point, put the shoes down. They're too uncomfortable.
Last word is amalgam, found in Brian Baker's piece on Punk/Pop trio Leggy. It's a word I probably learned many moons ago, in a high school chemistry class, but have since forgotten.
amlgam: a combination or mixture; blend; any alloy of mercury with another metal or other metals: silver amalgam is used as a dental filling (n.)
In this issue: "Leggy’s sound — as evidenced in its live presentation, on Cavity Castle,
its digital/physical cassette release, and on its latest digital track,
“Grrls Like Us” — is an amalgam of Allaer’s seminal love of the
Vines’/Strokes’ simple power chord/garage reverb equation, Bladh and
Allaer’s early affection for Joanna Newsom’s Avant Psych Folk and their
mutual love of Lana Del Rey and St. Vincent."
Whew. If you're like me and know nothing about local music (or, just, music in general), that sentence makes little to no sense.
Enjoy the weekend, readers!
So, there weren't many Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue. Our writers must not have been feeling so pretentious. Honestly, I found two, and one word was defined by the author IN the article. But it's just too great of a word to pass up in, so I'm going to expand upon it a bit in our vocab lesson.
flibbertigibbet (pronounced flibber-TEE-gibbit): a silly, scatterbrained, or garrulous person (n.)
It's a Middle English word, meaning it's from the dialect of the Middle Ages, the 12th to 15th century. Today it's mostly used as a slang term in Yorkshire. (The English use all sorts of fabulous words, don't they?)
Fun flibbertigibbet facts, according to the Google: The word has also been historically used as a name for a devil, spirit or fiend. In the book Charlotte's Web, the Goose says, "I am no Flibberty-ibberty-gibbet." Flibbertigibbet is also is the password used in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to access Gryffindor's dormitory.
In this issue: "Late last year, veteran multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter Chris Arduser released the latest addition to his stellar discography, a new solo album titled Flibbertigibbet (yes, it’s a real word, meaning 'a flighty or excessively talkative person')."
OK, the next and last word on my list is churlish. Again, this is a word I see a lot, but I don't actually know what it means. It's found in TT Stern-Enzi's piece: "The Future Is Now: A Sneak Peek at the Year".
churlish: a rude, selfish or mean person (n.); boorish or vulgar (adj.)
In this issue: "It would be churlish to focus on their misfires (Van Sant’s shot-for-shot remake of Hitchcock’s Psycho and Malick’s far-too-interior fever dream To the Wonder), even when such efforts, while frustrating, prove to be more inspired and riskier bets than the working hacks could ever imagine in a thousand years with all the riches of the world at their disposal."
That's all I've got, readers. Try and stay warm this weekend (although when it's 0 degrees out, literally ZERO, this may be futile).
Good morning readers! I hope ya'll had a very happy New Year. It feels very futuristic to say that it's 2015, doesn't it? Maybe that's because 2015 is the year the awesome movie Back to the Future II was set in, and it predicted that we'd have all sorts of crazy things (like flying cars and hoverboards) by now. Alas, we're not even close to flying cars, but we ARE close to hoverboards: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/142464853/hendo-hoverboards-worlds-first-real-hoverboard. I can only dream that one day hoverboards will replace cars.
Anyway, our latest issue looked back on the best movies, TV shows and music of 2014; a lot of it is compiled into easy-to-read Top 10 lists. So no excuse, pick it up!
Now onto Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue. Best word of the issue was obstreperous, found in Kathy Y. Wilson's editorial. (I'm noticing a trend here.)
obstreperous: noisy, boisterous, or unruly, esp. in resisting or opposing (adj.)
In this issue: "I’d love to amass all the obstreperous
black drug dealers I know, converge on Hyde Park Square, blast Gucci
Mane after midnight, spark blunts and then leave in a blaze of profane
Brilliant. I can only imagine the horrified reactions of Hyde Park folks to this scenario.
Next best word of the issue was conviviality, in the piece "Dubbing the New Year" on electronic artist Ott.
conviviality: having to do with a feast or festive activity; fond of eating, drinking, and good company; sociable; jovial (n.)
January and February are the worst months of the year, I think. Short days, slow, cold months, and holiday conviviality is over.
In this issue: " 'Loud music, positive energy, polite, friendly, welcoming people, bright clothes, good art, conviviality,' he says, 'and the occasional telltale smell of mothballs.' "
Moving on. Malfeasance, which reminds me so much of the sub par Disney movie Maleficent, is next. It's in Brian Baker's piece on Jade (the random local '70s band, not the ornamental rock).
malfeasance: wrongdoing or misconduct, esp. by a public official; commission of an act that is positively unlawful (n.)
In this issue: "Their strongest connection is Jade, a Cincinnati band from the early ’70s with great potential but which had its big break undermined by bad luck and malfeasance."
Next is a word that I see all over the place, but I don't actually know what it means and I've never bothered to look it up. When I saw quixotic it in this week's issue, I figured I should learn it, even if most of you already know it. It's found in our super handy list of the Top 10 Films of 2014.
quixotic: extravagantly chivalrous or foolishly idealistic; visionary; impractical or impracticable (adj.)
In this issue: "One of two films on this list I caught at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival (see Ida below), I was over the moon when this tale about cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s quixotic attempt to bring Dune to life reached area screens."
OK, that's all I've got. Take your arsenal of new words out into the world and have a happy weekend, readers.
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.)