Fun with Words

I use a lot of words in the course of a week, and though I am no master, I love the intricacies, fluidity, and humor of the English language. To feed that, I subscribe to a free weekly e-newsletter called World Wide Words. The author, Michael Quinion, is a well informed British man whose newsletter is often informative and usually entertaining. I attach a couple of examples from the most recent release.

By the way, I’m attracted to the offbeat and lighthearted entries, but don’t judge the author by my preferences. As a contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary, he comes with some solid credentials.

Mostly Dead? Merely Dead? Really, Most Sincerely Dead?

Dave Hay read in his local newspaper, the Houston Chronicle, about John Wayne’s 100th birthday party. His granddaughter, Anita LaCava Swift, was quoted as saying, “It’s always an amazing thing for our family whenever we are out among his fans because he’s almost been dead for 30 years.”

Amazing isn’t quite the word.

No sex please, I’m a vegan.

The story broke in the Christchurch News at the end of July and has been picked up all over the world. Annie Potts, co-director of the Centre of Human and Animal Studies at Canterbury University in New Zealand, conducted research into the experiences of cruelty-free ethical consumers, who included vegetarians, pescetarians (who eat fish) and vegans (who consume no products of animal origin). Dr Potts found that some of the vegans she interviewed, mainly women, refuse to have sexual contact with meat-eaters because their bodies are made up of the dead animals they’ve eaten. She has coined the word vegansexual to describe this group. I suppose that makes the meat-eaters among us carnisexuals.

I didn’t make this up.