Today’s Word of the Day is regardless which means, “despite everything.” I know a lot of people use the word “irregardless” to mean “regardless” even though that’s not correct and it’s not even a word. It’s as irritating as people who say “intensive purposes,” “should/could/would of,” and “supposably.” I’m not sure where this bastardization of the English language started, but as the sister of a Language Arts teacher, I can see that it’s not slowing up any time soon. I won’t go so far as to blame social media and text messaging for it, because there were people when I was going to school who talked like that, and there was no Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat back then. I didn’t even know anyone who owned a cell phone. I think it’s just ignorance that no one has ever bothered to correct. So, let me begin correcting it now.
Today’s “Word of the Day” is canicular, which means “of or relating to the dog days of summer.” I live in North Carolina, so I know a thing or two about summer heat. I hate it. Just walking to the mailbox at the end of the driveway can leave sweat rolling down my back like I just ran a marathon. We have central air in our house, so it’s always very nice and cool when the mercury rises, but not everyone is that lucky. I was watching an old episode of Chicago Tonight that dealt with the heat wave in 1995 which killed 739 people in five days. What I remember most about that stretch of time is two things — pictures of refrigerated trucks outside the Cook County morgue because the overflow of bodies was too great and the power going out almost every other night because the strain on the transformers was too great. The worst day of the heat wave saw the temperature hit 106°F with a heat index of 120°F. In Chicago. I hope I never live through heat that bad ever again for the rest of my life.
Today’s Word of the Day is lambaste, which means “to attack verbally.” Lord knows I’ve gotten into more than a few arguments and fights in my life, thankfully none that devolved to the point of either a physical altercation or things said that completely destroyed the relationship. My sister and I have had more than a few knock-down, drag-out arguments over the years, some of them legendary in our family. When you’re 5 1/2 years apart in age, that’ll happen. I had been an only child for so long, suddenly having a baby sister was not the blessing my parents thought it was. It was almost 20 years before the two of us could charitably call ourselves friends. Because of that age difference, we didn’t have the same friends, couldn’t wear the same clothes or shoes, had different tastes in music and makeup, and didn’t socialize together. Once we both were in our 20s, that changed. Now, I honestly can’t remember the last time we had an argument.
What was the last argument you had, and who was it with? Did you apologize and mend fences right away, or did you both sit and stew for a while about it?
Today’s Word of the Day is tome, which means “a large or scholarly book.” Now, I’ve read some thick books in my day (Gravity’s Rainbow, Portrait of a Lady, War and Peace), and the one thing I’ve always taken away from the endeavor is that I must be a glutton for punishment. I love reading, I always have, but unless a book is captivating enough to keep my attention, I’ll stick a bookmark in it where I stopped and move on to something else. I’ve got several books like that on my shelf right now. I hope to finish those books one day. Maybe. For today’s Musical Interlude Friday selection, I thought I’d leave you with a song that is the exact opposite of a tome, meaning it’s not very long. In fact, it’s the shortest song to ever hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Here is “Stay” by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs. Enjoy!
Today’s Word of the Day is a word I’ve never heard before in my life — bedizen. It means “to dress or adorn gaudily.” It almost sounds like “bedazzle,” which isn’t really a word, but the two words have just about the same meanings. I don’t like overly ostentatious, froufrou, or gaudy anything. Not clothes, not furnishings, not jewelry. Simple is best, or so I’ve found. Maybe it’s because I grew up lower middle class and thus didn’t have access to all the finer things in life or maybe it’s because my personality wouldn’t lend itself to being interested in those things even if I grew up with money, but when I see people like, well, you know what family I’m referring to, it makes my stomach turn. Being proud of your lifestyle is fine, I think everyone should be proud of who they are and what they have because someone, somewhere has it much worse, but keep arrogance out of it.
Today’s Word of the Day is amortize, which means “to pay off by making regular payments.” It’s a word I remember well from all my business classes when I was in school. I HATED Finance, though I got a B in it, and I HATED Accounting, though I got a B in that as well. Part of the reason I hated those classes is I had no confidence in my math skills whatsoever, even though I never failed a math class in my entire academic life. It just took me longer than most of my classmates to pick up something they had no issues with right away. It did a number on my self-esteem. The other reason I know the word is, of course, student loans. I have them, my sister has them, I don’t know anyone who has gone to college in the US and not had them unless of course, they come from money or something.
What’s one word from your school days you look back at with the most loathing? Was it a subject you didn’t particularly enjoy or a term you had to learn that has stayed with you ever since?
Today’s Word of the Day is effigy, which means “a figure representing a hated person.” Now, I can’t claim to have any effigies of hated personages around my house, but I suppose if I was the type of person to want one, I’m confident I could fashion one out of some moldy, matted hair I pulled out of my shower drain since, you know, the person I loathe with the passion of 1,000 white-hot burning suns greatly resembles a clump of moldy, matted hair I pulled from my shower drain. Won’t take much work to connect the two. You could also make a voodoo doll and put the clump of moldy, matted hair on top for added effect, but the clump of hair itself will do fine in a pinch.
Today’s Word of the Day is notorious, which means “widely and unfavorably known.” You often hear the word used in connection to criminals or criminal acts, like a midday robbery or armored truck heist. Sometimes, the word can be used to describe someone who isn’t a criminal, but who nonetheless is known for something unflattering, like cheating on their pregnant spouse or having a debilitating drug habit. Either way, it isn’t a word with a positive connotation. Now, for my song choice today, I could have gone with the obvious track by Duran Duran or something by the Notorious B.I.G., but I don’t particularly like the former, and I know nothing about the latter. Thus, I’m going to do my own thing. For today’s Musical Interlude Friday selection, I give you “Evil Ways” by Santana. Enjoy!
The weather in my neck of the woods has been, to be blunt, shitty as fuck the past few days. I’m talking 95°F+ with heat indices over 105°F. I’m grateful the grass hasn’t grown hardly at all since we mowed last week because trying to mow the front and back lawns in this heat would have me passed out in the driveway after 10 minutes. That’s why I enjoy the juxtaposition of today’s Word of the Day — balmy. It means, “soothing, mild, or foolish.” Our weather has been anything but balmy. More like swampy.
As an aside, I wonder if the British word “barmy,” which means acting crazy or foolish or silly, is somehow related to that last possible usage for the word “balmy.” Something for the etymologists to ponder.
I always enjoy discovering that words don’t mean just what I thought they meant. For example, today’s Word of the Day, quail, is not just a small bird people hunt. It also means “to recoil in dread or terror,” and Lord knows watching the news anymore, we’ve all been doing plenty of that. I mean, Koncentration Kamps for Kids? Seriously? We have people going on television trying to explain how we’re not like Nazi Germany? The minute you have to defend yourself against being a Nazi or Nazi-adjacent, that means something…and not something good. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t watch TV anymore, and I’ve blocked any and all mention of you-know-who from Twitter so I can enjoy it without my blood pressure spiking.
So, yeah. Been doing a lot of quailing of late. I’d like to stop before I throw my back out.