SLAKE: to cool or refresh, quench


I first heard the word slake in a song many years ago.  It was a spiritual song in which it made the point that God can slake one’s thirst for salvation.  It appeared to me that this was a medieval term, not commonly used in contemporary American English. Over the years, however, I have had […]

CONTRAPUNTAL: two or more relatively independent melodies sounded together.


  I’m well aware that the term contrapuntal is reserved almost exclusively for the field of music.   It describes two tunes or melodies which are played at the same time, fighting against each other.  To oversimplify it, it is as if you are playing “Mary had a little lamb” with your left hand on a […]

ENGENDER: bring or come into being


The act of creating is a sensation which is incomparable.   Whether it be parents who celebrate the birth of a child, an author who publishes a new novel, a stage company who open a new show, a carpenter who finishes a deck, or a child who brings a school-made valentine home to Mom, creation is […]

IMPACTFUL: having a measurable effect upon something or someone


Rich Demarest, my old friend, suggested that we look at the word impactful.  Rich is the Dean of the Episcopal Cathedral in Boise, Idaho.    He and I have known each other for a hundred years or more (exaggeration) and I have followed his career in the Church, proud to have played a part in his […]

HIGHFALUTIN [hahy-fuh-LOOT-n]: grandiose, pompous, pretentious

Highfalutin is one of those words that I didn’t think was a real word.  I thought it was just a nonsense term, but it turns out that it’s legitimate.   Bryan Garner lists the word as an Americanism which dates from the mid-19th century.  That’s about as much about the origin of the word that I […]

HARMONIC: compatible elements

Boy, this was a tough one.  If you were to take the time to look up the word harmonic in the dictionary (it doesn’t matter which one) you’d probably be overwhelmed by the scientific explanation of this phenomenon.   It has to do with the falling into place of elements of physics which are compatible.   But […]