Word of the day

If ultimate is the best or the last, penultimate is second best, next to last- one less than.
The penultimate chapter of the book raised the tension to its limit. How would it all resolve in the end?
Greek for monster tumor.

Is a kind of tumor that derives from "germ cells" that can sometimes develop into teeth, hair, even eyes.
Most often found in ovaries or testicles, these tumors can also form in the central nervous system- even the brain.
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I was just reading something about Branwell Bronte (brother of the famous sisters. When he was found dead
In his room, age 31, the doctor listed the cause of death as


Most likely from starvation. Marasmus occurs when the body lacks energy to sustain life. Normally found in children
during a famine or resulting from poverty.
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I'm eating what?

They serve your chicken with a side of polenta.
It tastes like mashed potatoes mixed with sawdust,
but what is it really?

Polenta is basically boiled cornmeal which can be served like porridge or formed into a loaf and baked, fried
or grilled.

Quinoa is the edible seeds of a plant of the amaranth family, prepared and used much like rice.

Aioli is sort of like mayonnaise mixed with garlic. There are some differences, but that's a close description.

Acai' is the berry/fruit of the acai' palm, usually boiled and mashed to make it soft/edible- tastes like a blackberry and chocolate mix.
Burgeoning--- beginning to grow, develop, flourish. The burgeoning business would be able to make a profit by the year's end.

Bourgeoisie--- having to do with the middle class, materialistic, having conventional values. In a Marxist sense, it
refers to the owners of "wealth", property, means of production.
Revenge or avenge, what's the difference?

Revenge means to retaliate for a personal wrong.

Avenge is to seek justice other than for oneself.
Bull market, Bear market

Why are they called that?

It is suggested that the terms come from the way each animal attacks.
Bulls thrust up with their horns.
Bears swipe down with their claws.

Is a word applied to something seemingly or superficially attractive, but having no real value or integrity.
A common example is that stuff you buy on vacation, then give to Goodwill after getting back home.
Cherchez la femme

Means look for the woman

Used in detective fiction as a cliche, it is even more so a sexist sort of comment,
as in- It seems like I'm always broke by the end of the week.
and the companion says, "Cherchez la femme".
Came across this saying-

A cat may look at a king.

So, OK, what does that mean?

Basically, you can look at it two ways. 1, Even a king (or some powerful person) cannot control
everything, and 2, even a lowly person has the ability to do things, just because they are alive, rights
or no rights.

How is a bungalow any different from a regular house or a cottage?

Well, a cottage is a small house. Houses can have a variety of floor plans or styles.
A bungalow is a single story structure- sometimes with an upper floor built into the sloping
"attic" space under the roof. Often they will have dormer windows and a veranda of some sort. Traditionally a bungalow
will have a yard an not be patcked together.

Some book I am reading talks about some guy's penthouse apartment as a bungalow. Not sure that makes sense.

Forgot to mention, the bungalow style house was built for European settlers in India and is derived from the Hindi word "Bangla" meaning House in the Bengali style.
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Pilgrim vs Puritan

Much of the"confusion" about the religious differences of early settlers to the Massachusetts area has to do with people arriving with different intentions and different beliefs.

On the Mayflower there were about 102 "pilgrims"- meaning people who journey for religious reasons. A portion of those on board (about 61) were what you might say believed in Arminianism- that each person forms a personal relationship to their God, and their eternal salvation is based on that aspect of their faith- these people were Protestants more in line with Luthor than Calvin. These people did not separate from the Church of England, but thought they could live in harmony. They traveled more for reasons of opportunity than religious sectarianism.

The other 41 were more of the Calvinist ilk, and had Separated from the CoE and faced criminal action back at home.
Let's call them Separatists, who believed in predestination and the ultimate will of God, summed up by the acronym T.U.L.I.P (look this up). Let's call these Separatists "Puritans"- witch-burning, harsh, uncompromising folk, who's values still permeate much of America.
Marmite and vegemite

Both are spreads used similar to butter. Both are made from a residue of brewer's yeast, a byproduct of beer making.
Marmite originated in England and Vegemite in Australia.
Though similar, they have different tastes, which I would assume are repulsive.
Cloud 9

A term meaning to be elated with happiness or contentment.
There are various explanations of the origin of the term, but all seem very "iffy".

Similar idiomatic expressions focus on an elevated, euphoric feeling,

Being on top of the world

Having ones head in the clouds

High as a kite

Over the moon

Walking on air

In seventh heaven
Water of life

Can mean the liquid used by the Bebe Gesserit to produce a Reverend Mother,
but more commonly it refers to some form of whisky.

The word whisky, itself, may be a corruption of using beatha, Galic for water of life.
In French, eat de vie, in Latin, aqua vitae.

Aquavit is a Scandinavian concoction of alcohol mixed with various herbs and flavorings.

A fashionable milliner or dressmaker


A woman's hat maker

Clothes, linens, accessories, household items etc. collected by a bride for a wedding/marriage.

A dealer in men's clothing.

Note- most of these terms would be found in older books.
Simple terms often confused, and depending on ones area/region may be used interchangeably.

Highway- highways have been around for a long time, but notably since the Roman constructions with raised surfaces and drainage. So, there are a couple explanations for the term- 1, They were built up above the ground level, hence the "high" of highway, or 2, an old English word for main road. Nowadays, highway is a catchall term for almost any "high speed,
direct route with limited interruptions.

Freeway- Some say freeway comes from not having tolls, but most say the word refers to a free flow of traffic with no stop lights or cross traffic. Usually multi-laned with central dividers, with on and off ramps, under and overpasses.

Expressway- This could be a multi-laned highway with limited access to the surrounding area- often via a frontage road.

Parkway- a highway or otherwise specialized road that often travels through a scenic route and may prohibit commercial vehicles.

Interstate- Interstate indicates the highway/freeway is part of a federally funded system- even if it does not necessarily
travel from one state to another (Hawaii has interstate highways).

Thruway- another name for expressway.

Turnpike- a highway with tolls- usually regional.
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Polyglot- person who knows/can use several languages.

Polymath- a person with an extensive range of knowledge, a "renaissance type".

Polygamy- the practice of a male having more than one wife.

Polyandry- the practice of a female having more than one husband.

Polyamorous- refers to a person who has multiple, serious, romantic relationships at the same time (not just casual encounters).

Polymorphic- occurring in various forms, variations.

Polyphonic- in music, a style of harmonizing many parts into a singular melody.

Polyphemus- In Greek mythology, a cyclops, son of Poseidon.
For fun

There are over 180,00 islands in the world. Set your timer. How many can you name- write down in one minute?


There are numerous words to describe formations of water- river and bay would be examples- how many others can you name in one minute?

Note- just for fun. I have no idea what would be an average result.


Bionic Poster
Polyglot- person who knows/can use several languages.

Polymath- a person with an extensive range of knowledge, a "renaissance type".

Polygamy- the practice of a male having more than one wife.

Polyandry- the practice of a female having more than one husband.

Polyamorous- refers to a person who has multiple, serious, romantic relationships at the same time (not just casual encounters).

Polymorphic- occurring in various forms, variations.

Polyphonic- in music, a style of harmonizing many parts into a singular melody.

Polyphemus- In Greek mythology, a cyclops, son of Poseidon.
Unforgivable omission for a tennis forum:
Polyester: material used to produce strings for tennis rackets, which some purists blame for ruining the sport.
More fun (maybe)

Find one word that when placed in the middle (of the two words provided) will create a two word phrase, or compound word by completing the first one and beginning the other. For example, for number one you could write in the word "glass", and that would give you- plate glass, and glass ceiling.

1- Plate_________________ ceiling
2- Pretty________________ register
3- Sweet________________flakes
4- Club_________________ fountain
5- Nest_________________ noodle
6- Red__________________ walk
7- Frozen_______________ stamps
8- Chain _______________ dust
9. Cotton_______________ cane
10- String_______________ bag

1. Glass 2. Cash 3. Corn 4. Soda 5. Egg 6. Cross 7. Food 8. Saw 9. Candy 10. Bean
Some little thing that spoils the whole shebang.

One bad apple spoiles the barrel.

Fly in the ointment (a biblical reference- ecclesiastes 10: 1).

Throw a monkey wrench in the works.

Spit in the punch bowl.

Shebang- means everything, the whole enchilada, everything but the kitchen sink, the whole nine yards, the whole kit and kaboodle, the full Monte.


A remark or statement that, while it may be true, because of overuse or lack of any real thought, comes off
as dull, meaningless, insipid, cliched.

Insipid- bland, lacking flavor, dull.

Are recurring geometric figures composed of never-ending repetitions of similar patterns- sort of like patterns found in nature- in snow flakes, crystals, turbulence in fluids, plant growth, the galaxy's formation.

The most famous fractal is the Mandelbrot set. Here is a video that explains the concept without too much math.

Words for pants/trousers

Slacks, breeches, britches, pantaloons, baggies, bell-bottoms, blue jeans, denims, cargo pants, cords, corduroys, dungarees, pedal-pushers, bermudas, jodhpurs, clam-diggers, hiphuggers, Capris, sweat pants, chinos,
toreador pants, yoga pants leggings, overalls, chaps, chapareras.

Please add to list.
Copyright vs Trademark

A copyright protects original artistic, literary, dramatic, musical and intellectual work that is fixed in a tangible
medium. You cannot copyright an "idea". All you really copyright is the unique expression of the idea.

For example, if you are a comedian and you come across someone, basically, stealing the idea of your routine, you most likely have no way to get that person to stop (aside from peer pressure), but if you wrote the material in (say) a book and someone copied it in writing - then there may be a violation.

A trademark protects words, names, titles, symbols, logos, and designs that are used to identify a source of "goods".
So, if you manufacture socks under the brand name "Zocks" with a laughing-sock logo and you have those trademarked,
No other manufacturer can call their socks "Zocks" or use that logo. They can still make socks, possibly very similar socks.

Note: just trying to define some words, here, not establish law.
Welcome additions, corrections.
means active in small quantities.
In this case it refers to the germicidal effect of various metals, especially heavy metals.

For example, brass doorknobs are known to self-sanitize after just a few hours. In the days before
Pasteurization and refrigeration people would leave a silver coin in their milk jug (and water barrel)
to prevent the growth of micro-organisms.
A work-around solution. Something done clumsily using whatever is at hand- makeshift, haphazard, inelegant,
inefficient, quick and easy.
Idioms involving food

Not my cup of tea
Apple of my eye
Bad egg
Big cheese
Whole enchilada
Bread and butter
Have ones cake and eat it too
Cool as a cucumber
Egg someone on
Full of beans
Spill the beans
Gravy train
Hot potato
In a nutshell
Out to lunch
For peanuts
High on the hog
Humble pie
Walk on eggshells
Goose is cooked
Small potatoes
Eat crow
Chew the fat
Packed like sardines
Butter up
Not know beans about
Cry over spilt milk
Bun in the oven
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree
Peach fuzz smart cookie
Put all ones eggs in one basket
Sell like hotcakes
Flat as a pancake
Like taking candy from a baby
That's the way the cookie crumbles
Buy a lemon
Go bananas
Like two peas in a pod
In a pickle
Top banana
Life is like a bowl of cherries

Easy as pie
Piece of cake
Half baked
Everything from soup to nuts

Named after the Russian, Trofim Lysenko,

Who was in charge of agricultural reform under Stalin. Stalin rejected Darwin concept of evolution, so
Lysenko created a pseudo-science to explain his methods in a way that kept him from execution.

Now, Lysenkoism is associated/identified with any deliberate distortion of the scientific method
for political, religious, or "social" reasons.

A person who takes an interest in some specialized subject, art, or science, without, however, the necessary background, training or commitment. In other words, a dabbler, or amateur.
Alter ego
Basically, alter ego means "other self". We are most familiar with the alter egos of comic super heroes.
The classic example is Superman who disguises himself in the alternate persona of Clark Kent. A more realistic
example might be an actor or musician, possibly a politician, who presents a certain image in public, but in private
might have a very different personality. These kinds of alternate personalities are generally controlled or crafted for a specific effect, but sometimes, sort of as in Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde, they exist as part of a psychological disorder.
Dissociative personality disorder is a term for someone who has more than the usual "one" personality. Psychologists
refer to these other personalities as alters, or dissociative parts.

Another example, or usage, might involve an actual other person. Someone may have a friend who's interests, goals, or attitudes are so much alike- that he or she is ones "other self".