Words --- New and Old to Me or Anyone

Schoon --- Clean and Beautiful

"Foreigners are often amused that the Dutch have one word, schoon, for both clean and beautiful." --- Anthony Baily, Vermeer: A View of Delft (p. 69)

What a sympathetic notion for mathematicians, for whom clean, clear proofs (and facts) are invariably the most beautiful.

Save an Endangered Word!

For example, you could save "malison" (a curse), " mansuetude" (gentleness or mildness), " muliebrity" (he condition of being a woman), "niddering" (cowardly), "nitid" (bright; glistening), or "olid" (foul-smelling). The Times is asking for your help.

Inverse Vandalism

"Inverse vandalism noun.

Creating something for no other reason than the sheer fact that you can create it. Most Web pages are acts of inverse vandalism."

I love this new concept, as recorded in near real-time by that wonderful site, Word Spy.

Galère --- Used in a Boat Load of Expressions

"Dans quelle galère me suis-je embarqué? "

--- or, " What have I gotten myself into?"

It turns out that there are a zillion French expressions that use galère, or in English, galley --- as in slave galley.

If It Queks like a Doke

The goos, the cokkow, and the doke also --- So cryeded, "Kek Kek!" "Kowkow" "Quek quek" hey ...

--- from Chaucer's Parliament of Fowls, quoted by Ackroyd (p.95)

Caesar and NetFlix

"Let me have men about me that are fat;
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights.
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous."

W. Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, scene ii. Incidentally, there is a fine version of Julius Caesar available from Netflix. Marlon Brando plays Mark Antony, and he hardly mumbles at all.

Geofrey Chaucer on Research Methods

"Out of old fields comes all new corn." --- rendered in modern English by Peter Ackroyd in Chaucer (p. 42).

Later (p.64) he gives it more fully in middle English: "For out of olde feldes, as men seythe, Cometh al this newe corn from yer to yere."

Incidentally, when he said "corn," I think he meant what we now call "grain."


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