SULLY: to stain or tarnish


The word sully is usually used in connection with the words “one’s reputation.”   It refers to the intentional act of defaming someone, of saying or doing something that stains their reputation and destroys their integrity in the public’s eyes.  It is a word that comes to us in English from the French  word souiller  which means […]

INDELIBLE: unable to be erased or forgotten


It is unimaginable that there is a generation  alive now in The United States which was not alive when  the attack on the Twin Towers took place.  That is not a unique experience.  Time moves along without hesitating at tragedies or celebrations. But it does signal that we have come to a point in history […]

TAWDRY [TAW-dree]: cheap, gaudy


The attempt to return to political office by former Representative Anthony Weiner has hit a new low. I’m not one to insist upon dredging up one’s past misdeeds when it comes to eligibility for an elected office.  What Mitt Romney did in his prep school days in Michigan can be chalked up to schoolboy pranks.   […]

OUTRAGE: a powerful feeling of resentment or anger aroused by something perceived as an injury, insult, or injustice

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Outrage is one of those words that makes me wonder about its origin.  I know what rage means.   It is an uncontrollable feeling that overcomes a person when something really, really awful happens.  It isn’t a created feeling; it comes on naturally. But outrage?   Is that just a superlative form of the word, like uber-rage?  (I […]

RIBALD [RIB-uhld] : to use coarse language, foul-mouthed


The internet is ablaze with the video of the first-day-on-the-job (and last!) news anchor at a Dakota tv station who didn’t know the mike was on yet and let loose with a pretty graphic comment.  Yes, he was fired after his first day. David (Papi)  Ortiz, beloved Designated Hitter for the Red Sox, added an […]

ARTICULATE [adj., n. ahr-TIK-yuh-lit; v. ahr-TIK-yuh-leyt]: expressed, formulated, or presented with clarity and effectiveness


President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) has to have been one of the most articulate public speakers in our nation’s history.   His ability behind a microphone or on the back end of a campaign train was incomparable.  FDR’s ability to make a difficult point in words that could be understood by people with many levels of […]