Tuesday’s (Fun) Word of the Week 8-15-2017

al desko

adj. adv
[al des-koh]


1. Facetious. (of meals or eating) at one’s desk in an office: always snacking al desko; having an al desko lunch.


They’ll be working through until it’s done, so Janice has gone to KFC for a bargain bucket. They’re dining al desko.
— Christopher Fowler, The Water Room, 2004

Other reasons people dine ” al desko ” vary …. They need to hightail it out of the office at 5 p.m. sharp to pick up the kids. They want to save money, or they are just too stressed to leave. 

Abby Ellin, “When the Food Critics Are Deskside,” New York TimesFebruary 18, 2007


Al desko is patterned after al fresco and was first recorded in the 1980s.


Tuesday Word Of The Week 8-8-2017





An almost horizontal entrance to a mine.


We’re standing beneath the adit of our long-desolate cave, proffering a sheaf of papers that you might consider a manuscript.
What Kind of Young Writer Were You?

A narrow and untrodden cavern at the bottom connects it with the outer sea; they could even then hear the mysterious thunder and gurgle of the surge in the subterranean adit, as it rolled huge boulders to and fro in darkness, and forced before it gusts of pent-up air.
Westward Ho!

“Shh!” said an older child, cocking his head and listening very hard, his eyes never moving from the cloud exuding from the adit.
Dragon’s Kin

After the last verse Taita turned and, with every eye fixed avidly upon him, strode back down the adit until he stood before the blue-grey wall of newly exposed rock at the end.

Then he’ll be needed at the mine, when we’ve got the adit cleared.
The Rowan


The word ‘adit’ comes from a Latin word meaning “entrance, access”.



Tuesday’s Word of the Week 8-1-2017



fal·cate \ˈfal-ˌkāt, ˈfȯl-\

Popularity: Bottom 20% of words


Hooked or bent like a sickle; as, a falcate leaf; a falcate claw; — said also of the moon, or a planet, when horned or crescent-formed.


Wildlife officials say a male falcated duck, a bird common in China, was first spotted at the refuge on Dec. 8.
Falcated Duck, Rare Asian Bird, Makes Appearance In California

The last streak of light had faded from the west, and a pale lustre kindling in the eastern portions of the sky, became brighter and brighter till the white falcated moon was lifted up above the horizon; while uncountable stars appeared to reflect their brilliancy in the waters below.
By Water to the Columbian Exposition

“The enlightened part of the moon appears in the form of a sickle or reaping-hook, which is while she is moving from the conjunction to the opposition, or from the new moon to the full: but from full to a new again, the enlightened part appears gibbous, and the dark _falcated_.”
The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 03 Masterpieces of German Literature Translated into English. in Twenty Volumes


Latin falcatus, from falc-, falx sickle, scythe

Asian duck, formerly called Falcated Teal


As an aside, here is an interesting short video (nothing to do with falcate, but interesting) :

Words from the Norman Invasion

Tuesday’s Word of the Week 7-18-2017

scaramouch (e)

scar·a·mouch \ˈskar-ə-ˌmüsh, -ˌmüch, -ˌmau̇ch\
Popularity: Bottom 40% of words


a cowardly buffoon; a rascal or scamp


  • He completed changing in haste, and despite what scaramouche had said; and then followed with Rhodomont. —Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini 

  • “It is unfortunate that you are without a scaramouche,” said Andre-Louis. —Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini 

  • He had overcome the difficulty in a manner worthy of scaramouche. —Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini 

Did You Know?

In the commedia dell’arte, Scaramouch was a stock character who was constantly being cudgeled by Harlequin, which may explain why his name is based on an Italian word meaning “skirmish,” or “a minor fight.” The character was made popular in England during the late 1600s by the clever acting of Tiberio Fiurelli. During that time, the name “Scaramouch” also gained notoriety as a derogatory word for “a cowardly buffoon” or “rascal.” Today not many people use the word (which can also be spelled “scaramouche”), but you will encounter it while listening to Queen’s ubiquitous rock song “Bohemian Rhapsody,” in the lyric “I see a little silhouetto of a man / Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the fandango?”


French Scaramouche, from Italian Scaramuccia, from scaramuccia skirmish



Tuesday’s Word Of The Day 7-11-2017



Past participle: snottered
Gerund: snottering


noun- (often plural) another word for snot

A rope going over a yardarm, used to bend a tripping line to, in sending down topgallant and royal yards in vessels of war; also, the short line supporting the heel of the sprit in a small boat.

verb- To snivel; to cry or whine; to breathe through obstructed nostrils


The snotter was a short piece of rope with a loop at each end.
The Scientific American Boy The Camp at Willow Clump Island

What signified his bringing a woman here to snotter and snivel, and bather their Lordships?
The Heart of Mid-Lothian

When raising the sail it was first partly hoisted, then the sprit was hooked in the loop and the snotter, after which the throat halyard was drawn taut.
The Scientific American Boy The Camp at Willow Clump Island


The origin of the word ‘snotter’ is obscure.



Word Of The Day 7-6-2017


noun  mu·rage \ˈmyu̇rij\
Popularity: Bottom 10% of words


A tax or toll paid for building or repairing the walls of a fortified town.


Generous benefactors, like Sir Richard Whittington, frequently contributed to the cost, and sometimes a tax called murage was levied for the purpose which was collected by officers named muragers.
Vanishing England

For three days, the three busiest of the year, when we might do well out of tolls on carts and pack-horses and man-loads passing through the town to reach the fair, we must levy no charges, neither murage nor pavage.
St. Peter’s Fair

By fineounce and imposts I got and grew and by grossscruple gat I grown outreaches — ly: murage and lestage were my mains for Ouerlord’s tithing and my drains for render and prender the doles and the tribute:
Finnegans Wake


Middle English, from Middle French, from murer to enclose with a wall + -age