HISTORY: the actual events which preceded the present time

“Listen, my children, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere” The poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is as familiar to school kids as Washington crossing the Delaware, or Benedict Arnold becoming a traitor to the colonial forces.   Paul Revere, famed silversmith of Boston, watches from a distance for the lamp(s) to […]

GRAVITAS: seriousness or sobriety, as of conduct or speech.

I have to keep remembering that gravitas is  style, not a thing. It is a word that describes a concept more than a specific person or group of persons. The best way to remember that is to keep a sentence in mind in which I use the word gravitas. For instance, I might say, The […]

PALINDROME: A word, phrase, verse, or sentence that reads the same backward or forward.

Believe it or not, this post is not about Sarah Palin. As tempting as it may be,  I will avoid the coincidence of spelling which occurs when exploring the word palindrome. As the bar above says, a palindrome is a word or phrase which reads the same backwards and forwards.   When I was a kid […]

LIONIZE: to treat someone as a celebrity

It’s fascinating.  The word lionize emerges from a time when the ability to see a real, live lion in a zoo setting was rare.  In some places, London in the late 16th century, for instance,  it was so rare that “everyone” went to the zoo to see the lions.  Consequently, to lionize came to mean […]

VIRTUOUS IGNORANCE: another way of saying "anti-intellectual"

David Akin, in a recent posting on his On the Hill blog, referred to Jonathan Raban’s book review of Sarah Palin’s memoir Going Rogue in New York Review of Books. (Isn’t that just about the most hyperlinked sentence ever?) In that blog postinghe identified the words virtuous ignorance, a phrase coming to mean the intentional […]


I thought the list of definitions for rogue was interesting, so instead of picking one, take a look at the entire list as shown by Dictionary.com: ROGUE: 1. a dishonest, knavish person; scoundrel. 2. a playfully mischievous person; scamp: The youngest boys are little rogues. 3. a tramp or vagabond. 4. a rogue elephant or […]