by Samantha Gellin
104 days ago
Posted In: Commentary
at 10:51 AM | Permalink
In case you need a dictionary with the Dec. 17 issue of CityBeat
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.
by Samantha Gellin
Posted In: Commentary
at 11:22 AM | Permalink
In case you need a dictionary with the Nov. 5 issue of CityBeat
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.)
by Samantha Gellin
at 12:11 PM | Permalink
In case you need a dictionary with the Oct. 22 issue of CityBeat
Good late morning, readers. Roughly 13 more work hours until the weekend... we got this. I think.This week's issue was filled with Words Nobody Uses or Knows, most of which were found in our cover story, Lost in Wilberforce, a piece about how the country's oldest historically black college is dying a slow, sad and dysfunctional death. Nobody is sure if it can be saved. Not what I would call a light read, but wonderfully written and important nonetheless.Best word of the issue, found in that cover story, is promulgated.promulgated: to publish or make known officially (a decree, church dogma, etc.); to make widespread, i.e. to promulgate learning and culture (v.)In this issue: "Dr. Algaenia Warren Freeman, a veteran HBCU
administrator, has taken the reins from interim president Wilma Mishoe
and is painted by the board — and the university’s PR firm
Trevelino-Keller — as emblematic of the 'force of change' promulgated in
the university slogan."Next best word is fealty (also found in the cover story). fealty: the duty and loyalty owed by a vassal or tenant to his feudal lord; an oath of such loyalty (n.)In this issue: "Jarred, a Pittsburgh native, pledges fealty only to the University of North Carolina." I enjoy the comparison of the university to a feudal lord here. And then there's salvos, a great sounding word that has two completely different meanings and is Italian.salvos: the release of a load of bombs or the launching of several rockets at the same time; a burst of cheers or applause (n.) I find it amusing that this word can mean something deadly and delightful simultaneously. In this issue: "'Your cerebral cortex cannot comprehend the complexity
of my complex bars,' says Jarred, with the kind of theatrical cadence
and gesturing that makes me think these might be introductory salvos in
an impromptu face-off right here. 'You can’t fuck with me.' " OK. Does anybody understand the use of that word in the above sentence? Because I've read it three times and I'm still not getting it. Another terrific sounding word in this issue is coquettish, which for whatever reason reminded me of Cosette in Les Miserables. Or croquet? Coquettish Cosette played croquet. I don't know. It's in Rick Pender's review of An Iliad at Ensemble Theater, which, by the way, is an astounding production. Really. I see a lot of theater, sometimes multiple shows a week, because my husband works in theater, and let me tell you, this was by far one of the best productions I've seen in the city since I've moved here, like, two months ago. But I digress. Coquettish: As a young, flirting girl. (adj.)In this issue: "He is called upon to recreate a dozen or so
characters from Homer’s sweeping epic — the professional warrior (and
demigod) Achilles; the brave Trojan Prince Hector; Achilles’ protégé
Patroclus; pretty boy Paris who lit the fuse on the war by stealing
another man’s wife; the arrogant Greek King Agamemnon and his aged,
disconsolate counterpart from Troy, King Priam; even several women, from
the coquettish Helen and Hector’s steadfast wife Andromache; and a god
or two, especially and humorously the fleet-footed Hermes, 'a young man
with fabulous sandals.' "Last word in today's vocab lesson is prescience, found in this week's Big Picture column, which is about the late George S. Rosenthal, a Cincinnati photographer who took photos of the city's West End neighborhood before it was destroyed by the construction of I-75 in the 1950s. prescience: apparent knowledge of things before they happen or come into being; foreknowledge (n.)In this issue: "I mean them no disrespect to focus this
story on Rosenthal, but his work fascinates me for his prescience.
by Samantha Gellin
at 09:29 AM | Permalink
In case you need a dictionary with the Oct. 15 issue of CityBeat
Good morning readers. It was slim pickings in this weeks issue for "Words Nobody Uses or Knows." I only found three, which is OK, because I'm still recovering from last night's Iron Fork event (where I may have had one too many samples of bourbon) and the less thinking I have to do, the better.The best (or worst) word in this weeks issue is pompatus, which actually appears in the deck of Brian Baker's interview with singer/songwriter Maurice Mattei. Neither Microsoft Word nor the blog platform I'm writing in recognizes this as a real word. Because it's not. Wikipedia says (there's an entire page devoted to this) that pompatus is a nonce word, a word coined for a special occasion and not likely to be heard again, found in Steve Miller's 1973 Rock song "The Joker." "Some people call me the space cowboy/Yeah! Some call me the gangster of love/Some people call me Maurice/'Cause I speak of the pompatus of love."In this issue: "Singer/songwriter Maurice Mattei details the pompatus of loss on Celebrity Issue"OK. I still don't know what this word means or is intended to mean. New World Dictionary defines pompatus as: one who is pompous (n.) But in the above context, that doesn't make much sense. I suppose the lesson this morning is: Famous people sometimes coin disposable, meaningless words that confuse regular people who aren't "with it."Next best word is oeuvre, found in the review of Vivian Maier's exhibit at FotoFocus. It's pronounced something like "ew-vra." Fancy.Oeuvre: the group consisting of all the works, usually of a lifetime, of a particular writer, artist, or composer (n.)In this issue: "But a whopping 33 of the aforementioned images in Pursuit are self-portraits, which — due to their abundance in her oeuvre — we might conclude Maier was quite fond of taking."And finally, there's triptych, which is a great sounding word and it's found in this week's Staff Picks. triptych: a set of three panels with pictures, designs, or carvings, often hinged
so that the two side panels may be folded over the central one, commonly
used as an altarpiece (n.) Similarly, a diptych is two related panels of art work, while a quadtych is four, you see what Latin does there?In this issue: "North American New Opera Workshop (NANOWorks) continues to challenge
traditional ideas of opera as it kicks off its new season with the first
two parts of Daniel Felsenfeld’s triptych, She, After."
by Samantha Gellin
Posted In: Commentary
at 09:54 AM | Permalink
In case you need a dictionary with the Oct. 8 issue of CityBeat
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
by Samantha Gellin
Posted In: Commentary
at 09:50 AM | Permalink
In case you need a dictionary for the Sept. 24 issue of CityBeat
Good afternoon, readers. I’ve got my coffee and a plethora of smart-sounding words from this week’s issue, which, by the way, showcases fabulous interviews with the most anticipated acts of MidPoint Music Fest this weekend. If you haven’t already, pick up the paper, and for all you die-hard festival fans, check out our entire page dedicated to all things MPMF.
But onto the matter at hand: vocab. My favorite word from this weeks issue is nefarious, which appears in Staff Picks.
Nefarious: very wicked; villainous; iniquitous (adj.)
Someone on Urban Dictionary defined nefarious as “When a person grabs a dead seagull and squeezes a fart out of it.” Yea, don’t try that.
In this issue: “Once the sun starts to drop, Kings Island becomes dangerously full of nefarious clowns, bloodied doctors and howling wearwolves.” Nope. I can think of a thousand better ways to spend an evening than pee-my-pants scared at Kings Island.The next best word is daguerreotype, from Ben Kaufman’s "On Second Thought"; a word you’ll most likely never use in conversation, ever.
Daguerreotype: a photograph made by an early method on a plate of chemically treated metal
(n.)In the issue: "It’s a 21st century color version of a 19th century daguerreotype keepsake of a dead child." (The rest of the article isn't that grim, I promise.) Daguerreotype was apparently a really unsafe photographic process in the 1840s and '50s, one that exposed people to mercury vapors and had long exposure times. Maybe that's why no one is ever smiling in antique photos? Indelible: that cannot be erased, blotted out, eliminated, etc.; permanent; lasting (adj.) In this issue: "Marlon Brando’s brutish Stanley
Kowalski and Jessica Tandy’s (later Vivien Leigh’s) broken Southern
belle Blanche DuBois are historic, indelible and seminal performances." in Stacy Sim's review of A Streetcar Named Desire. The last word is consternation, which appears in Sound Advice.Consternation: a state of great alarm, agitation, or dismay (n.) Yes, I tend to feel consternation watching local TV news, or when I find grammatical errors on the back of cereal boxes.In this issue: "He did so because he
found that he had problems with certain aspects of conservative Jewish
orthodoxy, bringing forth the expected consternation."
by Rachel Podnar
Posted In: Life
at 01:14 PM | Permalink
In case you need a dictionary with the June 18 issue of CityBeat
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
by Rachel Podnar
Posted In: Life
at 12:51 PM | Permalink
In case you need a dictionary with the July 2 issue of CityBeat
right guys, you know the drill. I found nine words this week to choose from,
the most I’ve noticed so far. Maybe the writers are doing it on purpose?
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
if you’re studying for a spelling bee and dying to know what words didn’t make
the cut, you can click for caliphate, contrived and histrionics
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary’s 2012 updates
included crowning “F-bomb,” “sexting” and “man cave” official words.
’Murica! WORLD +1