EXPONENTIALLY: to increase at a rapid rate


It’s another one of those words that is used so casually that it sometimes says something that is really not what the word means. People will say something like “The number of customers at the shop has increased exponentially.”  The store owner is attempting to say that business is good, that what was a trickle […]

SOURCE: the place from which something originates


Every now and then it gets frustrating to read or listen to people who claim the “truth” based upon their having found a story on the Internet or in some other recently-created resource.   This is true in all walks of life, from politics and economics to biblical references.   It amazes me that well-meaning people believe […]

SKUNKED TERM: a word or term that experiences confusing change in its meaning

When a word’s meaning changes dramatically to the point of being confusing, it is referred to as a skunked term. In Bryan Garner’s, Garner’s Modern American Usage, he points out “When a word undergoes a marked change from one use to another–a phase that might take ten years or a hundred–it’s  likely to be the […]

CABINET: only in Rhode Island: a milkshake!

There’s a lot about Rhode Island that’s unique.  Like on Monday when the state observed “Victory Day.”   Rhode Island is the only state in the United States that continues to observe this day as “Victory over Japan” day.   The horrific details of that victory have caused a stir among many Rhode Islanders, but the […]

BALDERDASH: confused, muddled conversation

There are words like sarsparilla and hogwash that belong to a generation before my time.   They are words that are mouthed by aging cowboys, hermit-like gold miners, and eccentric grandfathers in movies that were in black and white and had little white spots that shot up and down the side of the frame of the […]

GOBBLEDYGOOK: obscure language which is difficult to de-cypher

When I first began thinking about using the word gobbledygook in a posting I thought I was dealing with a word that was so “made up” that it wouldn’t even appear in a dictionary.  I was surprised to find it every place I looked, including the classic Garner’s Modern American Usage.   I have to admit, […]