OBFUSCATE: to confuse or muddle

Obfuscate [ob-fuh-skeyt] is one of those words that sounds obscure and remote.  However, it is a great word that is used regularly in any number of settings.   I often hear it on news shows, in interviews and in the midst of dialogue and it appears in articles all the time.   Obfuscate is from the Latin […]

LEGENDARY: celebrated or fabled

How many hundreds of times have you seen a cartoon of a banana peel on the sidewalk and someone comes along, steps on it, and ends up flat on their back on the sidewalk?  It’s a legendary image, loved by those who create animated cartoons. But … how many times have you actually seen a […]

CONNECTION: a rapidly-changing concept having to do with interaction with another person

When younger people say that they “connected” with someone over the weekend they could mean anything from having seen somebody and waved to them to having a sexual encounter with another person.  It is a word that requires a context, and younger people seem to have an ability to identify context in order to ascribe […]

PERSNICKETY: overly fussy

Persnickety. I love this word.  It’s fun to say.   It’s one of those old-fashioned words that doesn’t come up in conversations much these days.  My research indicates that it’s a word that comes to us from Scottish origins, and that its actual spelling was pernickety.  Over the years it was adjusted to the newer spelling, […]

MEME [meem]: a cultural factor that replicates over time, much as a gene is carried from generation to generation

The word meme “was coined by the British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976)… as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. Examples of memes given in the book included melodies, catch-phrases, fashion and the technology of building arches.” (Wikipedia)   It has become […]

SUSTAINABILITY: the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance*

The concept of sustainability revolves around the idea that elements of our environment and our attempt to live in a healthy way in this environment require an understanding of depletion and restoration.   If those elements, including food, are to be available to this and future generations care must be taken to avoid depleting the supply […]