She’s a virago!

Virago:

origin and etymology:

Middle English, from Latin viragin-, virago, from vir man

definition:

Plural: viragoes or viragos

  1. a loud, overbearing woman
  2. a woman of great stature, strength, and courage

Mixed messages, anyone? While once considered a compliment (one famous virago being Joan of Arc), it later became more of a slur or derogatory comment (think Taming of the Shrew’s very own shrew). Now it’s trending more towards the complimentary once again. Is there a virago in your farmgirl life?

Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, Photo by ABC Television via Wikimedia Commons.

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phone etiquette

Phub 

Phone snubbing. We easily see it in others’ behavior. It’s so annoying when it happens to you, but be honest, you may be guilty of this one yourself …

verb (used with object), phubbed, phubbing
1. to ignore (a person or one’s surroundings) when in a social situation by busying oneself with a phone or other mobile device

Hey, are you phubbing me?

I hate to see a mother wheeling a stroller while phubbing her baby.

verb (used without object), phubbed, phubbing.

2. to ignore a person or one’s surroundings in this way.

Origin of phub

First recorded in 2010-14; ph(one) + snub

CandlestickTelephoneGal

Woman using telephone, c. 1910. From postcard via Wikimedia Commons.

 

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Scurryfunge

Scurryfunge

(v.) middle English; to rush around cleaning frantically, when company is on their way to your home. To clean briskly.

While the oldest known variations (1700s) relate more to scouring pots and pans, or even one’s children, the later variations are attributed to that panicked feeling you get when a long-lost friend calls you from a nearby rest stop, or your mother-in-law phones from the car to let you know she’s in your driveway.

Do you scurryfunge?

Image by Geertruydt Roghman via Wikimedia Commons.

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Are you being watched?

Anatidaephobia is defined as a pervasive, irrational fear that one is being watched …

by a duck.

Yep, a duck.

Maybe the most interesting thing about this one is that there are enough people that have this fear, that it actually has a name!

Photo by Francis C. Franklin via Wikimedia Commons.

Anatidaephobia is derived from the Greek word “anatidae,” meaning ducks, geese, or swans, and “phobos,” meaning fear. While it make us non-suffers giggle, anatidaephobia can be a debilitating anxiety condition, wherein, no matter what one is doing or where s/he is in the world, they feel the constant presence of a lurking and watching duck …

Stephen King, are you listening??

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Lost in Translation

Most of us have heard of a murder of crows, right? Rather than something that sends ominous chills up and down your spine, it’s really just a way to describe a bunch of crows without saying … well, “There was this bunch of crows …”

The names of other animal groupings are just as interesting and intriguing. How many of these had you heard of—and used properly—before today?

Orpheus Charming the Animals, Jacob Hoefnagel, 1613

A rookery of albatross.

A congregation of alligators.

A shrewdness of apes.

A battery of barracudas.

A sleuth of bears.

A wreck of birds.

A sute of bloodhounds.

A wake of buzzards (getting ominous again).

A bellowing of bullfinches.

A nuisance of cats.

A destruction of wild cats.

A coalition of cheetahs.

A quiver of cobras. (Well, sure, they’d make anyone quiver!)

A pod of dolphins.

A pitying of doves.

A memory of elephants.

A business of ferrets.

A charm of finches.

A flamboyance of flamingoes.

A tower of giraffes.

An implausibility of gnus.

A bloat of hippopotamuses. Hippopatami?

A lounge of lizards.

A mischief of mice.

A company of moles.

A parliament of owls.

A pandemonium of parrots.

A pride of peacocks.

A rhumba of rattlesnakes.

An unkindness of ravens.

A congress of salamanders.

A shiver of sharks.

A fever of stingrays.

A gulp of swallows.

A gang (or posse) of turkeys.

A generation of vipers.

A kettle of vultures.

A wisdom of wombats.

A dazzle of zebras.

These are just the ones that caught my eye. There are dozens more names of animal packs and groupings. Which one is your favorite?

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myötähäpeä

myötähäpeä

(n.) Finnish; that secondhand embarrassment you feel when someone is making a fool of themselves, vicarious shame, or shame by proxy. From myötä- (“co-”) +‎ häpeä (“shame”).

For some with deep empathy, their myötähäpeä is so acute as to hide under the covers during movies or television scenes when a character is being ridiculous, or to avoid parties where certain relatives are bound to make an embarrassing entrance.

If you’ve never felt it, you probably haven’t had kids yet …

Photo by Tony Alter via Wikimedia Commons.

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whataboutery

whataboutery

(wat-uh-BAUT-uhr-ee)

(n.) The practice of responding to an accusation by making a counter-accusation, real or imaginary, relevant or irrelevant. Protesting at hypocrisy; responding to criticism by accusing one’s opponent of similar or worse faults. Protesting at inconsistency; refusing to act in one instance unless similar action is taken in other similar instances.

Sound familiar?

Image, W. Esser, Bodleian Libraries via Wikimedia Commons. Translation: “Now I have to go to Elba with my cock, calmly.”

etymology:
Earliest documented use: 1974. Originally used in describing political discourse during the Northern Ireland troubles, it has also found use in discussions of the origins of other prolonged sectarian conflicts, such as the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. It was widely employed by then USSR as a propaganda technique and is now often a favorite of our current president. It is also known as whataboutism. “Turbo-charged online whataboutery is destroying proper debate.” – Helen Lewis, Nov 26, 2015

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” -Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer (1920-1992)

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paracosm

(n.) A detailed, prolonged, and imaginary world created by a child that includes humans, animals, or alien creatures. Can have a definite geography, language, and history.

pronunciation | \per-o-‘koz-m\

Illustration by Jessie Wilcox Smith via Wikimedia Commons.

Examples of paracosm:

  • Middle-earth, the highly detailed fantasy world created by J.R.R. Tolkien, as expressed in his novels The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Tolkien had been inventing languages since his teen years, only later imagining the people who spoke them or their environment.
  • Gondal, Angria, and Gaaldine, the fantasy kingdoms created and written about in childhood by Emily, Anne, and Charlotte Brontë and their brother, Branwell, and maintained well into adulthood. These kingdoms are specifically referred to as paracosms in several academic works.
  • As children, novelist C. S. Lewis and his brother, Warren, together created a paracosm called Boxen, which was in turn a combination of their respective private paracosms Animal-Land and India. Lewis later drew upon Animal-Land to create the fantasy land of Narnia, which he wrote about in The Chronicles of Narnia.
  • Hogwarts, invented by J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books.
  • Terabithia, the imaginary kingdom invented by author Katherine Patterson, in her beloved novel Bridge to Terabithia.
  • Never Land, from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.
  • Wonderland, from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Well, I could go and on, but what’s your favorite paracosm? And did you have your own that followed you into adulthood?

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Bimble

Bimble …

No, not bumble. (Autocorrect didn’t get me this time.) It’s bimble …

As in, to bimble along.

(v.) walk or travel at a leisurely pace.

On Sunday, we bimbled around Spitalfields and Brick Lane.

(n.) a leisurely walk or journey.

We were enjoying a pleasant bimble over the rocks.

/bimbəl/

I like the Urban Dictionary’s description even better, don’t you?

“To amble without real aim, yet in a friendly and harmless manner. It’s not required to achieve nothing, though it is a frequent side effect. Bimbling can be made a little more business-like with a slight hunch of the shoulders.”

I rather think Bilbo Baggins enjoyed a good bimble, don’t you? (Now we’re getting into tongue-twisting territory.)

From The First Saint Omnibus: An Anthology of Saintly Adventures (1939), page 269:

But the Duchess starts bimbling and wambling and wimbling and threatens to wallop his ducal behind.

Wambling and wimbling? There are two more for us to learn …

Der Sonntagsspaziergang, by Albert von Keller via Wikimedia Commons

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Luddite

I confess to being one myself at times. But in my defense, learning new technologies is baffling and time-consuming. And why must everything on your laptop change once you run an update? Inquiring minds want to know.

(n.) Ludd·ite  \ ˈlə-ˌdīt \

One of a group of early 19th century English workmen destroying labor-saving machinery as a protest; one who is opposed to technological change.

The Luddites argued that automation destroys jobs. It became an entire movement—the Luddite movement—in 1811, in Nottingham, England. After machinery began to replace them, textile mill workers rioted. The name itself is likely rooted in a fictional character named Ned Ludd in George Pellew’s Life of Lord Sidmouth (1847). Poor Ned, in a fit of rage and insanity, rushed into a weaver’s house and destroyed all of the equipment.

Anyone who shuns new technologies is now considered something of a Luddite. But come on now, who among us has not had vivid daydreams of running over their misbehaving printer with a tractor? Just me? Hello?

Photo by diveuniversefest via Wikimedia Commons.

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