Vocabulary: Combination Words


He watches dreadful tv shows and movies, howling at the screen with a mixture of delight and loathing at the teenybopper drivel, and in the privacy of his room his self-gratification is performed while imagining visions of the old family dog.
amazon.com books review by J Mullin 2000-07-17 of the book A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1937 to 1969).

poster child

The phrase poster child originally referred to a child afflicted by some disease or deformity whose picture is used on posters to raise money for charitable purposes; “she was the poster child for muscular dystrophy”.


blackhead is technically called comedo. Also comes as whitehead.


Squatting consists of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied space or building, usually residential, that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have permission to use.

There is an important distinction to be made between squatting by necessity and squatting as political statement. In this period of global recession and increased housing foreclosures, squatting has become far more prevalent in Western, developed nations.
Squatters 2011-01-15


There are not 100,000 to 300,000 children in America turning to prostitution every year. The statistic was hatched without regard to science. It is a bogeyman.
Real Men Get Their Facts Straight: Ashton and Demi and Sex Trafficking By Martin Cizmar, Ellis Conklin, Kristen Hinman. At http://www.villagevoice.com/2011-06-29/news/real-men-get-their-facts-straight-sex-trafficking-ashton-kutcher-demi-moore/


A design language or design vocabulary is an overarching scheme or style that guides the design of a complement of products or architectural settings. Designers wishing to give their suite of products a unique but consistent look and feel define a design language for it, which can describe choices for design aspects such as materials, colour schemes, shapes, patterns, textures, or layouts. They then follow the scheme in the design of each object in the suite.

Usually, design languages are not rigorously defined; the designer basically makes one thing in a similar manner as another. In other cases, they are followed strictly, so that the products gain a strong thematic quality. Though there is a great variety of unusual chess set designs, for instance, the pieces within a set are usually thematically consistent.

Note: “design” is a dirty word. Design is often a pseudo-science, and famous designers are often cult figures. Buckminster Fuller is a prominent example. (known for Geodesic Dome)


Doomsday cult” is an expression used to describe groups who believe in Apocalypticism and Millenarianism, and can refer both to groups that prophesy catastrophe and destruction, and to those that attempt to bring it about. The expression was first used by sociologist John Lofland in his 1966 study of a group of Unification Church members in California, 《Doomsday Cult: A Study of Conversion, Proselytization, and Maintenance of Faith》 Buy at amazon. A classic study of a group with cataclysmic predictions had previously been performed by Leon Festinger and other researchers, and was published in his book When 〈Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group that Predicted the Destruction of the World〉 Buy at amazon.
Doomsday cult,


Reviews for the film have been mixed. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 28% of 203 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 4.6 out of 10. The site's general consensus is that “The Twilight Saga's second installment may satisfy hardcore fans of the series, but outsiders are likely to be turned off by its slow pace, relentlessly downcast tone, and excessive length.” … Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post gave the film two and half stars out of four, praised Kristen Stewart's performance in the film and wrote, “Despite melodrama that, at times, is enough to induce diabetes, there's enough wolf whistle in this sexy, scary romp to please anyone.” … Time Out New York gave the film 3 stars out of 5, calling it “acceptable escapism for those old enough to see it yet still young enough to shriek at undead dreamboats.” Jordan Mintzer from Variety stated, “Stewart is the heart and soul of the film”, and added that she “gives both weight and depth to dialogue… that would sound like typical chick-lit blather in the mouth of a less engaging actress, and she makes Bella's psychological wounds seem like the real deal.”


Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically expressed through terrorism. Since the mid-20th century, the KKK has also been anti-communist. The current manifestation is splintered into several chapters and is classified as a hate group.

The first Klan flourished in the South in the 1860s, then died out by the early 1870s. Members adopted white costumes: robes, masks, and conical hats, designed to be outlandish and terrifying, and to hide their identities. The second KKK flourished nationwide in the early and mid 1920s, and adopted the same costumes and code words as the first Klan, while introducing cross burnings. The third KKK emerged after World War II and was associated with opposing the civil rights movement and progress among minorities. The second and third incarnations of the Ku Klux Klan made frequent reference to the USA's “Anglo-Saxon” and “Celtic” blood, harking back to 19th-century nativism and claiming descent from the original 18th-century British colonial revolutionaries. The first and third incarnations of the Klan have well-established records of engaging in terrorism and political violence, though historians debate whether the tactic was supported by the second KKK.

Ku Klux Klan,


Astroturfing is a form of advocacy in support of a political, organizational, or corporate agenda, designed to give the appearance of a “grassroots” movement. The goal of such campaigns is to disguise the efforts of a political and/or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to some political entity—a politician, political group, product, service or event. The term is a derivation of AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass.

Astroturfers attempt to manipulate public opinion by both overt (“outreach”, “awareness”, etc.) and covert (disinformation) means. Astroturfing may be undertaken by an individual promoting a personal agenda, or highly organized professional groups with money from large corporations, unions, non-profits, or activist organizations. Very often, the efforts are conducted by political consultants who also specialize in opposition research. Beneficiaries are not “grassroot” campaigners but distant organizations that orchestrate such campaigns.



The comments on my piece were hostile, insulting and vehemently opposed to my argument. The onslaught continued for a few more days: Some 2,000 comments were submitted, and editors took down about 700 of the worst. If you check this article online today, you will find more than 1,300 comments. For some reason, people are very invested in handwriting.
Handwriting Is History By Anne Trubek. At http://www.miller-mccune.com/culture-society/handwriting-is-history-6540/


Spencer, “the father of American handwriting,” was a fanatic who was obsessed with script even as a child. He made it big when he established a chain of business schools -- the slogan was “Education For Real Life” -- to teach his script, Spencerian, which he based on natural forms: leaves, trees, etc. Spencerian was the standard script taught from the 1860s to the 1920s. This transcendentalist move toward a script that better followed the human body's movements is belied by his insistence on rigor and standardization. He advised his students to practice six to 12 hours a day. Mastering his script would, Spencer believed, make someone refined, genteel, upstanding.

Later in the 19th century, Palmer invented a script that would better suit the industrial age. The Palmer Method stresses a “plain and rapid style.” He rejected the slightly fey Spencerian for a muscular, rugged script better suited to a commercial culture. By 1912, Palmer was a household word, and a million copies of his (printed) writing manuals had sold. Educators taught his method, and millions of Americans were “Palmerized.”

Handwriting Is History By Anne Trubek. At http://www.miller-mccune.com/culture-society/handwriting-is-history-6540/


These experiments demonstrated that there is a finite store of mental energy for exerting self-control. When people fended off the temptation to scarf down M&M's or freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies, they were then less able to resist other temptations. When they forced themselves to remain stoic during a tearjerker movie, afterward they gave up more quickly on lab tasks requiring self-discipline, like working on a geometry puzzle or squeezing a hand-grip exerciser. Willpower turned out to be more than a folk concept or a metaphor. It really was a form of mental energy that could be exhausted
Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? By John Tierney. At [ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html ]


In Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist mythology, the yakṣa has a dual personality. On the one hand, a yakṣa may be an inoffensive nature-fairy, associated with woods and mountains; but there is also a darker version of the yakṣa, which is a kind of ghost (bhuta) that haunts the wilderness and waylays and devours travelers, similar to the rakṣasas.

In Kālidāsa's poem Meghadūta, for instance, the yakṣa narrator is a romantic figure, pining with love for his missing beloved. By contrast, in the didactic Hindu dialogue of the Yakṣapraśnāḥ (“questions of the Yakṣa”), it is a tutelary spirit of a lake that challenges Yudhiṣṭhira. The yakṣas may have originally been the tutelary gods of forests and villages, and were later viewed as the steward deities of the earth and the wealth buried beneath. In Indian art, male yakṣas are portrayed either as fearsome warriors or as portly, stout and dwarf-like. Female yakṣas, known as yakṣiṇīs, are portrayed as beautiful young women with happy round faces and full breasts and hips.

Yaksha, 2011-07-09. See also: 夜叉
Yaksha is mentioned many times in Journey to the West. See: 西游记里的夜叉 (Yaksha). For some pics of female yaksha (known as yaksinis), see: Asian Goddesses.
waylay = To lie in wait for and attack from ambush. (AHD)
tutelary = Being or serving as a guardian or protector. (AHD)
steward = originally, stigweard, literally, a sty ward. (sty = A enclosure for swine) Steward today means: One who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs; attendant on a ship or airplane, etc.
portly = bulky, comfortably stout, corpulent


Netflix got its start as the red-envelope movie rental service, later turning into the video streaming authority (bankrupting Blockbuster in the process), and now may be making yet another major move: bankrolling original content.
Netflix Gets Into The Original Content Game, Buys Upcoming Show For A Rumored $100m By Kyle Thibaut. @ Source www.crunchgear.com
bankroll = A roll of paper money.


That's exactly what the 15-year-old boys who sell their bodies on Polk Street in San Francisco say. And the young pickpockets in midtown Manhattan. And the baby-faced heroin addicts panhandling in Seattle. In Miami. In San Diego. Sure, the streets are brutal, even terrifying at times, but let me tell you a few stories about my dad or my mom or the uncle who won't leave me alone.
Running Scared By Jon D Hull. At http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981850,00.html


More recent projects stir the imagination, even if the field is still young. Computer programs have generated over one thousand conjectures in graph theory, expressing numerical relationships between different graph invariants. One open conjecture is described in the box “An Open Computer-Generated Conjecture”. No technological barriers prevent us from unleashing conjecturing machines in all branches of mathematics, to see what moonshine they reveal.
Formal Proof Thomas C Hales. American Mathematical Society's “A Special Issue on Formal Proof”. At http://www.ams.org/notices/200811/
moonshine = shine of the moon; empty or trivial (as moonshine); whiskey illegally distilled.


Then the scorpion changed to a vulture and the serpent became an eagle, which set upon the vulture and hunted him for an hour's time, till he became a black tomcat, which miauled and grinned and spat. Thereupon the eagle changed into a piebald wolf and these two battled in the palace for a long time, when the cat, seeing himself overcome, changed into a worm and crept into a huge red pomegranate which lay beside the jetting fountain in the midst of the palace hall. Whereupon the pomegranate swelled to the size of a watermelon in air and, falling upon the marble pavement of the palace, broke to pieces, and all the grains fell out and were scattered about till they covered the whole floor. Then the wolf shook himself and became a snow-white cock, which fell to picking up the grains, purposing not to leave one, but by doom of destiny one seed rolled to the fountain edge and there lay hid.
miaul = To cry as a cat; to mew; to caterwaul.
piebald = Having spots and patches of black and white, or other colors; mottled.


I know an extremely savvy businesswoman who made almost a million dollars online last year. Every entrepreneur I know considers her to be wildly successful. But guess what? A few days ago, out of the blue, she told me that she's depressed. Why? “I’m burnt out and lonely. I just haven't taken enough time for myself lately,” she said. “Wow!” I thought. “One of the most successful people I know isn't happy.”

I also know a surfer who surfs almost all day, every day on the beach in front of our condo complex in San Diego. He's one of the most lighthearted, optimistic guys I’ve ever met – always smiling from ear to ear. But he sleeps in a van he co-owns with another surfer and they both frequently panhandle tourists for money. So while I can't deny that this man seems happy, I wouldn't classify his life as a success story.

10 Simple Truths Smart People Forget By Marc At http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/01/10/10-simple-truths-smart-people-forget/
panhandle = beg by accosting people in the street and asking for money.


There are plenty of signs of the shockingly sudden economic slowdown during my commute. The radio isn't filled with the hopeful jingles of Internet retailers, and I can almost always get a cell-phone circuit. Some of the signs are just that -- vacancy signs dangling from buildings whose landlords until recently were demanding shares in the companies started by their tenants. And the blank billboards along Highway 101 -- the valley's main thoroughfare -- mutely advertise the downturn. There are few tire kickers in the lots of the luxury-automobile dealers. Near my office, the people who sometimes paraded along the sidewalk bearing placards that said WILL WORK FOR EQUITY have mercifully disappeared.
Spring Comes Early To Silicon Valley By Michael Moritz. At http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,999529,00.html
downturn = a worsening of business or economic activity.
thoroughfare = A public road from one place to another.


the smokestack industry


me and my girlfriend reached a deadlock position
deadlock = a situation in which no progress can be made or no advancement is possible.


Annette Bening, in a comedic tour de force, plays Lester's wife Carolyn, a straitlaced, uptight, worry wart who sells real estate. Next door we have, just moving in, 18-year-old Ricky Fitts, played with sly self-assurance by Wes Bentley, the dope-dealing, Bible-suit wearing, photog son of Marine Corps Colonel Frank Fitts and his mostly catatonic wife.
American Beauty movie review by Dennis Littrell. At http://www.amazon.com/review/R33SJNTERUBZ5S
tour de force = French expression meaning a exceptional creative achievement, a particularly adroit maneuver, or a difficult feat.
worrywart = One who worries excessively and needlessly.
photog = A person who takes photographs, especially as a profession.
straitlaced = exaggeratedly proper; prudish


I don't feel all that evangelical about this though. The real bugbear is the paper size. If Americans would switch to A4 I'd be very happy
Online forum post on Metric vs Imperial measuring system.
bugbear = A imaginary monster used to frighten children; A object of dread or apprehension.


God, the more I dig the more I'm drawn in… Kinda like rubbernecking at a traffic fatality on the 405 during rush hour.
macosx-talk mailing list post by Roger Howard, 2002.
rubbernecking = To look about with unsophisticated wonderment or curiosity.


One of these days, female notwithstanding, I'll end up dead or in prison if I can't change my ways. Or back in the bughouse if I'm lucky that day.
Yahoo schizoid forum post by a prostitute, 2001.
bughouse = A institution for the mentally ill. (AHD)


“Alright you two! Enough lollygagging! Let's get to work!”
dialogue from a comic by Hollister David, 2004
lollygagging = To waste time by puttering aimlessly; dawdle. (AHD)


Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in a whirlwind, are grilled before the Senate over the prisoner abuse scandal.
whirlwind = A violent windstorm of limited extent, as the tornado, characterized by an inward spiral motion of the air with a upward current in the center


Written in the days when kingmakers really were beheaded and rebellion meant war and not a boardroom coup, (and I am sure those days still exist in the world), Titus was a revenge tragedy not unlike others of its day, but so raw and emotionally violent that it is refreshing!
kingmaker = a important person who can bring leaders to power through the exercise of political influence.


“Titus Andronicus” is Shakespeare's much maligned play, and not without some justification. But in the hands of an artist such as Ms. Taymor, something quite new emerges. Where once was a potboiler of its time, now comes a witty and daring satire of our time.
Online user comment on the 1999 movie Titus. At http://us.vdc.imdb.com/title/tt0120866/usercomments?filter=love;start=10
potboiler = a literary composition of poor quality that was written quickly to make money (to boil the pot).


honeymoon is the period when love birds pair off to a copulating vacation.
honeymoon = a holiday taken by a newly married couple. Honeymoon


the Simpsons cartoon: Homer: “Hey, Flanders, who put that bug up your butt?” Flanders: “Ohh. I wanted to subscribe to that new Arts and Crafts Channel. Well, sir, they send over this flimflam man to install it. And do you know what he did? He offered to hook me up illegally to every cable channel for only 50 bucks.” (then Homer ran after the flimflam man)
The Simpsons cartoon.
flimflam = a swindle in which you cheat at gambling or persuade a person to buy worthless property.


Should anyone much care whether an American boy living overseas gets six vicious thwacks on his backside? So much has been argued, rejoined and rehashed about the case of Michael Fay, an 18-year-old convicted of vandalism and sentenced to a caning in Singapore, that an otherwise sorry little episode has shaded into a certified International Incident, complete with intercessions by the U.S. head of state.
The Whipping Boy By James Walsh. At http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,980647,00.html
intercessions = a prayer to God on behalf of another person; the act of intervening (as to mediate a dispute)


Then there is the female university president's contretemps with a male board member. Before they enter her office, she gives her secretary a piece of paper and says, “I've just finished drafting this letter. Do you think you could type it right away? … And would you please do me a favor and hold all calls while I'm meeting with Mr. Smith?” Inside her office, Mr. Smith suggests that he disapproves of the solicitous way the head of the college has spoken to her secretary. “Don't forget,” he says, “you're the president!”
Are Women Too Nice At the Office? By Ginia Bellafante. At http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981522,00.html
contretemps = a awkward clash.


OK, I understand this to mean that you do not have the mental wherewithall to understand that focusing on people is a choice, opposed to focusing on the arguments, on information, on ideas, on knowledge, on understanding, etc.
Erik Naggum in comp.lang.lisp, 2002-09-28
wherewithal = The necessary means, especially financial means. The word came from “wherewidth”


In this holiday-shortened week, Wall Street's debate will likely continue on whether the recent tailwind that had been pushing stocks up will wither in the summer heat.
Market's recent tailwind could die down The America's Intelligence Wire. At http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-23398537_ITM
tailwind = A wind blowing in the same direction as that of the course of an aircraft, a ship, or another vehicle. (AHD)


She's wearing a polka dot dress. Her face is careworn.
dialogue from movie Wizard of Oz.
careworn = showing the wearing effects of overwork or care or suffering.


My personal opinion is that the prosecutor hornswoggled the court and the jury with this hogwash.
hornswoggle = To bamboozle; deceive. (AHD)


The last in the set is the Chasse-neige (“Snowplough”), which can be viewed as the greatest of Studies. It is unique in its mood of desolation - it has been poetically described as snow-flakes gradually covering and burying the whole world. A study of nature at her most merciless. But for those who look upon Liszt as a mountebank, as someone who writes “for effect”, I would recommend a glance at the end of the B minor Sonata and B minor Ballade.
Blog on Franz Liszt's Transcendental Studies, by Johann D'Souza. At http://inkpot.com/classical/lisztrans.html
mountebank = a flamboyant deceiver; one who attracts customers with tricks or jokes.


Lindows is an operating system for Microsoft haters and cheapskates. Its flaws make Windows seem like a genuine bargain.
Doesn't do Windows by Stephen Manes. Forbes Mag. At http://members.forbes.com/forbes/2002/0902/190_print.html
cheapskate = A stingy person; a miser.


It's not that a cybercriminal world of conspiratorial smugglers, scofflaws, crooked banks and tax evaders is impossible. Such countries already exist. It's just that they're not anyone's idea of high-tech paradise. They are places like Bulgaria.
Will Cyber Criminals Run The World? By Bruce Sterling. At http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,997255-2,00.html
Chances are, you're a software scofflaw.
A ‘disturbing’ download trend Lisa M Bowman. CNET News. At http://news.cnet.com/2100-1001-928562.html
scofflaw = One who habitually violates the law or fails to answer court summonses. (AHD)


Summer is over and a plague of UNIX programmers is upon us. College kids, wet behind the ears; greenhorns, rubes.
UNIX Is Dead! Wanna Fight? by John C Dvorak, The DEC Professional Mag. At http://www.skepticfiles.org/weird/deadunix.htm
rube = A unsophisticated country person. (AHD)
greenhorn = A raw, inexperienced person; one easily imposed upon.


The cornball love story between the spoiled Anakin Skywalker (Christensen) and the plastic young senator of the Republic Padme Amidala (Portman), takes center stage.
cornball = Mawkish or unsophisticated; corny: a kid's cornball humor. (AHD)


Kheifetz provided Elizabeth Zarubin with a rundown on all the members of Robert Oppenheimer's family.
? Time Mag?
rundown = a concluding summary.


There's one special-effects scene in “Attack of the Clones” that qualifies as fun: A light-saber duel between Dooku and that little whippersnapper Yoda, who is about one-sixth his size.
In space, no one can hear you groan Stephanie Zacharek, “salon.com”. Review on movie Star Wars II. At http://dir.salon.com/story/ent/movies/review/2002/05/16/attack_clones/print.html
whippersnapper = A diminutive, insignificant, or presumptuous person.


A conservative estimate of the number of people who would die during a period of five years after only _half_ of the electronic infrastructure in the United States had collapsed is 30 million people. This is part of unclassified disaster planning that surfaced because of the Y2K scare, and it has been published widely by scaremongers that a decimation, in the technical meaning of 10% loss, of the population is considered a tolerable loss.
Computer language online forum posting “comp.lang.lisp” (1999) by Erik Naggum. At http://groups.google.com/group/comp.lang.lisp/msg/aee320dc0b7ba543
scaremonger = a person who spreads frightening rumors and stirs up trouble.


So many sites, so little time… Why pussyfoot around with window dressing? Take BIG bytes out of the net with Lynx.
Slogan of a text based web browser Lynx (web browser).
pussyfoot = to go stealthily or furtively.


In George Orwell's 1984, Winston Smith worked for the Ministry of Truth, excising from the public record the names of anyone who ran afoul of Big Brother. In 1999, Smith seems to be working at Infoseek, expunging any mention of former executive Patrick Naughton from the company's Web sites.

Not long after the FBI arrested Naughton on September 16 for allegedly planning a sexual encounter with a minor, Infoseek stated that Naughton no longer worked at the company. Infoseek then went to work to make it seem as though Naughton had never worked at the company.

Greenhalgh acknowledged that Naughton's bio and the release announcing his appointment were removed, but declined to comment on the other revisions. Perhaps sensing that news of the whitewash might prove more embarrassing than the original problem, Infoseek went back within 24 hours and reinserted Naughton's name in releases that had mentioned him.
Patrick Doesn't Work Here Anymore Wired. At http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.12/mustread.html?pg=5
excise = To remove by or as if by cutting.
whitewash = cover up a misdemeanor, fault, or error.


Although they are still supported, backslashes are never needed for contiunation lines. They are a throwback to older versions of Python that didn't support the open-pairs rule.
? A passage describing a backward compatible feature of the Python programming language.
throwback = a reappearance of an earlier characteristic.


The upshot was that I wrote a little Windows program to show some of the ideas involved.
upshot = a phenomenon that follows and is caused by some previous phenomenon.


In March of this year, they charged in a letter published in Microwave News that these attempts were met with stonewalling and foot-dragging.
Cell Study: Hazards Are Real by Chris Oakes. Wired. At Cell_Study_Hazards_Are_Real_by_Chris_Oakes.txt
foot-dragging = Failure to take prompt or required action. (AHD)
stonewalling = stalling or delaying especially by refusing to answer questions or cooperate.

bleeding heart

“… My mom's such a bleeding heart… she's vocal about gay rights and all that.”
bleeding heart = someone who is excessively sympathetic toward those who claim to be exploited or underprivileged; garden plant having deep-pink drooping heart-shaped flowers. Dicentra


People often ask why “flammable” and “inflammable” mean the same thing. The English words come from separate Latin words: inflammare and the rarer flammare, which both meant “to set on fire”. Latin had two prefixes in-, one of which meant “not”; the other, meaning “in”, “into”, or “upon”, was the one used in inflammare. “Inflammable” dates in English from 1605. “Flammable” is first attested in an 1813 translation from Latin It was rare until the 1920s when the U.S. National Fire Protection Association adopted “flammable” because of concern that the “in-” in “inflammable” might be misconstrued as a negative prefix. Underwriters and others interested in fire safety followed suit.
alt.usage.english faq by Mark Israel http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxflamma.html
underwriter = One who underwrites his name to the conditions of an insurance policy; an insurer.


The story he tells is about Buttercup, a beautiful princess (Robin Wright) who scornfully orders around a farm boy (Cary Elwes) until the day when she realizes, thunderstruck, that she loves him. She wants to live happily ever after with him, but then evil forces intervene, and she is kidnapped and taken far away across the lost lands…
thunderstruck = as if struck dumb with astonishment and surprise.


The Pinta, the Nina, and the Santa Maria were outfitted in the minor port of Palos. Columbus was aided in recruiting a crew by two brothers -- Martin Alonzo Pinzon, who received command of the Pinta, and his younger brother Vicente Yanez Pinzon, who commanded the Nina. They left Palos on Aug. 3, 1492, rerigged the Nina in the Canaries, and sailed to the west. A landfall was made on the morning of Oct. 12, 1492, at an island in the Bahamas, which Columbus named San Salvador…
Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia
landfall = the first sighting of land from the sea after a voyage.


It is delicious, like the twisted little apples that grow in the orchards of winesburg. In the fall one walks in the orchards and the ground is hard with frost underfoot. the apples have been taken from the trees by the pickers. They have been put in barrels and shipped to the cities where they will be eaten in apartments that are filled with books, magazines, furniture, and people. On the trees are only a few gnarled apples that the pickers have rejected. They look like the knuckles on doctor reefy's hands. One nibbles at them and they are delicious. Into a little round place at the side of the apple has been gathered all of its sweetness. One runs from tree to tree over the frosted ground picking the gnarled, twisted apples and filling his pockets with them. Only the few know the sweetness of the twisted apples.
Winesburg, Ohio (novel) (1919) by Sherwood Anderson.
underfoot = under the feet.


hang-dog look› sorry Xah, I ate'm all [m&m chocolates].
CompuServe post by “m.j.vasko”, ~1992.
hangdog = showing a sense of guilt.


“Ah, I That scientists disagree with you only proves that they are spineless, hagridden, greedy liars, perverting the truth in order to bag some nice juicy grants and get those articles into print…”
CompuServe poster Bill Snyder, early 1990s.
hagridden = tormented or harassed by nightmares or unreasonable fears.


… but in 1640 Pascal did print a one-page broadside entitled Essay pour les coniques, which announced some of his findings. Only two copies of this famous leaflet are known to be still in existence …
Pascal is a mathematician. “coniques” refers to conic sections, see: Conic Sections.
broadside = a advertisement (usually printed on a page or in a leaflet) intended for wide distribution.


Pack says he asked Stanley for his money back but instead got a runaround. At first Stanley said he couldn't pay him because of a bounced check, then it was a long story about his life being in danger because of dealings with some questionable people living in Florida. Pack eventually had what he called a “gentlemen's discussion” with Stanley; essentially, Pack says, he demanded that Stanley “pay up or else.” He finally got most of his money back, but the episode left him with a strong impression.
The Great Internet Con By Dan Goodin. At http://www.thestandard.com/article/0,1902,16368,00.html?page=0%2C2
runaround = Deception, usually in the form of evasive excuses. (AHD)


sassy jailbait.
epithet from dialogue in movie Exotica (film)
Jailbait is a interesting word. It means a girl who is physically mature enough to attract sexual attention of men, but is illegal to have mutually consentual sex with, because their age under the laws of certain Western societies since the industrialization consider psychologically immature to have sex. In USA, this is typically 18 or 17. So, a jailbait is some young, pretty, buxom lasses in your neighborhood such as your daughter, who baits men into jail. The word is interesting from a linguistical ethology's point of view because, the word bait is applied to such girls. When something is a “bait”, it means it has attraction to some subject. See also: Hebophilia
jailbait = A person below the age of consent with whom sexual intercourse can constitute statutory rape. (AHD)


… as customers, increasingly comfortable with personal computers and requiring less handholding, were more price-conscious and reluctant to pay for the comforts of a well-heeled operations like Businessland.
well-heeled = in fortunate circumstances financially; moderately rich.
handholding = Strong personal support and reassurance, especially to alleviate tension and anxiety.


Such obstinacy did not go down well among the skinflints of academe …
skinflint = a selfish person who is unwilling to give or spend.


… so that her highborn kinsmen came, and bore her away from me, …
Edgar Allan Poe in Annabel Lee.
highborn = Of noble birth.


Managers of a mobile-home park were denied the rent increase they requested because residents complained about the park's upkeep.
upkeep = The act of keeping up, or maintaining; maintenance.


“Smaller, faster, cheaper” are NASA's new bywords.
? Time Mag early 1990?
byword = A common saying; a proverb; a saying that has a general currency.


Here he plays Cyrano, gadfly and rabble-rouser, man about town, friend of some, envied by many, despised by a powerful few, and hopelessly, oh, most painfully and endearingly, in love with Roxane (Anne Brochet).
rabble-rouser = a orator who appeals to the passions and prejudices of his audience.
gadfly = A persistent irritating critic; a nuisance. (AHD)


Now there may be a new force for change. Students who are tired of paying $20,000 a year to have someone throw up on their shoes have launched a growing backlash against their inebriated peers. Not just freshmen, prodded by over anxious parents, but upperclass men as well are demanding alcohol- and drug-free living and study environments. Even at party-hearty Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, the students in an entire dorm have pledged to stay sober during their four years of school. Repentant drinkers, meanwhile, are helping organize Alcoholics Anonymous groups on campus.
Higher Education: Crocked on Campus By Christine Gorman et al. At http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,982010,00.html
backlash = a adverse reaction to some political or social occurrence.


the huge outlay of grocery.
outlay = That which is expended; expenditure; money paid out.


And the Trek phenomenon is bursting again like a fresh supernova. A seventh feature film, Star Trek: Generations, which opened over the weekend, brings together for the first time the two Enterprise big shots: Shatner as the heroic, headstrong Captain Kirk of the original series and of every movie until now; and Patrick Stewart, the bald-pated Brit who succeeded him as the more cerebral Captain Picard in The Next Generation.
Trekking Onward By Richard Zoglin et al. At http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981909-2,00.html
headstrong = Directed by ungovernable will, or proceeding from obstinacy.


… Meryl Streep,… is landlocked in Iowa …


The theater was moribund, subsisting on threadbare melodramas as vacuous as they were popular,…
threadbare = Worn out; clothing that show threads as a result of wearing out.


[someone said] “[she] Pops firecrackers in my apt. and hangs out with a bad crowd -- probably is the ringleader!”
ringleader = a person who leads (especially in illicit activities).


For the big three online services -- CompuServe, Prodigy and America Online -- this was the year it all fell into place. The computers were cheap. The modems were fast. The infohighway buzzwords were on everybody's lips. “It's like Mars and Jupiter coming into alignment,” says Maurice Cox, president of CompuServe, the largest (2.25 million subscribers) of the field. Upstart America Online grew at such a rapid clip -- an extraordinary 200% in the past 12 months -- that subscribers complained of busy signals and its stock was whipsawed by takeover rumors (the most recent: that cable-TV mogul John Malone wants to buy a big stake). Even Prodigy, the troubled online service that has reportedly swallowed $1 billion of its co-owners’ (IBM and Sears) shrinking capital, seems to have turned the corner and is finally showing a profit.
Hooked Up to the Max By Philip Elmer-Dewitt Et Al. At http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981493,00.html
U.S. stock whipsawed. -- NEW YORK (CBS.MW) -- Stocks zigzagged in and out of the plus column on Tuesday as investors responded to a number of cross-currents. For the Dow, severe losses in Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase amid mounting questions over their role in the Enron debacle challenged the index's upside.
Online news caption, 2002-07-23
whipsaw = a handsaw intended for use by two people, especially for cutting trees. Gambling: To defeat in, or cause to lose, two different bets at the same turn or in one play, as a player at faro.


The friend zone is when one person in a platonic relationship wishes to enter into a romantic relationship while the other does not. It is generally considered to be a regrettable situation by the lovelorn person. Common publications giving advice on dating, state that once this situation has happened in a relationship, it is difficult to undo.
Friend zone,


“The greatest happiness is to vanquish your enemies, to chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth, to see those dear to them bathed in tears, to clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters.” -- GENGHIS KHAN

Boy, talk about a man who knew what he wanted out of life. He also knew how to get it: after the tribal leader known as Temujen was crowned in A.D. 1206 as the Mongols' Genghis Khan -- “emperor of all emperors” -- he waged nearly continuous wars of conquest against his neighbors. By his death in 1227, Genghis Khan ruled most of the lands between the Sea of Japan and the Caspian Sea, an empire that encompassed two-thirds of the known world and far eclipsed the celebrated realms of Alexander the Great. To those who were overrun by the Khan's mounted hordes -- and to the victims' modern descendants -- the Mongols were a barbaric people who swept out of the unknown reaches of the Asian steppe, a warmongering race whose only talents were for rape, murder and pillage.
The Khan Collection By Michael D Lemonick Et Al. At http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981507-1,00.html
steppe = extensive plain without trees. steppe


He [Blaise Pascal] saw no room for mystery-mongering in matters of science and mathematics.
Mathematical thought from ancient to modern times By Morris Kline.
monger = To deal in; to make merchandise of; to traffic in; often used chiefly of discreditable traffic.


The Usenet newsgroups are, in their way, the perfect antidote to modern mass media. Rather than catering to the lowest common denominator with programming packaged by a few people in New York, Atlanta and Hollywood and broadcast to the masses in the heartland, the newsgroups allow news, commentary and humor to bubble up from the grass roots. They represent narrowcasting in the extreme: content created by consumers for consumers. While cable-TV executives still dream of hundreds of channels, Usenet already has thousands. The network is so fragmented, in fact, that some fear it will ultimately serve to further divide a society already splintered by race, politics and sexual prejudice. That would be an ironic fate for a system designed to enhance communications.
WELCOME TO CYBERSPACE; What is it? Where is it? When can we go? By Philip Elmer-Dewitt. TIME Domestic SPECIAL ISSUE, Spring 1995 Volume 145, No. 12 http://www.well.com/user/ped/clips/Cyberspace_Cover_Spring.95
narrowcasting = Alternative to broadcasting wherein advertising messages are presented to relatively limited audiences by means of direct mail, local cable television, specialty publications, or other specifically targeted media. Narrowcasting
heartland = the central region of a country or continent; especially a region that is important to a country or to a culture.


Broken Arrow, a bomb-ticking chase movie about a daredevil pilot (Travolta) who steals two nuclear weapons, shows how easily the two cinemas can coexist. It flies at the speed of Macho 2 while allowing Woo to unpack his full cinematic arsenal: overhead shots, plenty of steamy atmosphere (Travolta smokes a lot), Cuisinart editing of the action scenes, slow motion to prolong the jitters and, for dialogue scenes that other directors would stand flatfooted and watch, lithe little tracking shots. If film school were fun, Woo would be the nutty professor.
jitters = extreme nervousness.
lithe = gracefully slender; moving and bending with ease.
GO WEST, HONG KONG By Richard Corliss. At http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,984183,00.html?iid=digg_share
daredevil = a reckless impetuous irresponsible person.


make a mountain out of a molehill.
A common idiom. It means to make a big deal out of a minor issue. See Make a mountain out of a molehill.
molehill = a mound of earth made by moles while burrowing. molehill


Older (age 15 and up), more hard-core gamers will want that Xbox. The machine is Microsoft's beachhead in the console wars, and I predict it will be a big success, even though it costs 50% more.
The Box Meets The Cube By Josh Quittner. At http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1001240,00.html
Beachhead is illustrated in the opening scene of the movie Saving Private Ryan.
beachhead = a line of attack on the beach with the goal to advance inland. Beachhead


I had hoped to find a responsible article, instead I found hogwash.


US and USSR played brinkmanship during the cold war.
Xah Lee
brinkmanship = the policy of pushing a dangerous situation to the brink of disaster.


…INTPs do not always enjoy much popularity, for they can be hard taskmasters.


…a cyberpunk journalist who writes under the byline St. Jude,…


“It doesn't ring true,” insisted Jackie Collins, author of The Bitch, The Stud, and other potboilers.


the guy was outflanked by two cops.


…hope PowerPC would break the stranglehold that Intel has on the production of chips…


I was aboveboard.


miscellany, patchwork, medley, melange, conglomeration, gallimaufry, hodgepodge, olio, salmagundi


… learn obscure pedantic words you can use to intimidate the whippersnappers that come after you. [from a parody]


time to hire a handyman


… now is the time for that long-postponed trip to the Australian outback.


… Brad Pitt delivers [reads] Cormac McCarthy's hardscrabble prose in The Crossing with a twangy stoicism that perfectly reflects the novel's tone.


Jonny and Jimmy, henchmen of Los Angeles crime lord Lordy


I was alone on AOL and a wallflower on the WELL.


In a sidelong and subliminal way,…


…and a profitable sideline in helping the Mafia locate

splinter group cold turkey

So she stopped smoking, cold turkey.

puppy love

the puppy love, say, that turns rabid as two souls merge in a toxic rapture.


the cornerstones of every package are the context …


that revel the bedrock fondness, desperation and loyalty that bond this or any other frazzled clan.


…shipshape and affluent little city state [Singapore].


…A gridlock in the justice system.


Lack of stimulation and nurturing at an early age can derail development.


He is the guinea pig of medical sadists and firebrand communists.


what a pettifogger


pockmarked face


not a piece of meal or oatmeal


She tries to disguise her hillbilly accent.

Jekyll and Hyde

For years, she has played a Jekyll and Hyde game …
Jekyll and Hyde = One who has a dual personality that alternates between phases of good and evil behavior. Jekyll and Hyde

Union Jack

The flag of United Kingdom is called Union Jack. US flag's nickname is Old-Glory, Star'n'Strips, Star-spangled banner

plea bargain

We will probably never know. The event that began with a whack! has ended with a less-than-satisfying whimper. By plea-bargaining her way out of the tangle, Harding has ensured that she will never have to answer the question that dogged her all the way to the Olympics and back: Did she have a hand in planning the assault on Kerrigan?
Springtime for Tonya By Jill Smolowe;Patrick E Cole/Los Angeles. At http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,980399,00.html
plea bargain = To make a agreement in which a defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge and the prosecutor in return drops more serious charges. plea bargain

word of mouth

product that got popular by word of mouth is usually better than pop products of advertisements.
See also: Word of mouth

lock horns

… of course, if you stubbornly disagree, then we can proceed to lock horns.
lock horns = Become embroiled in conflict. This expression alludes to how stags and bulls use their horns to fight one another. (AHD)

out of the woodwork

I'm so … intrigued by the evolutionary refuse that keeps crawling out of the woodwork to share their putrid mind with the world.
Sneering by Erik Naggum in “comp.lang.lisp” newsgroup, 2000-03-06. At http://groups.google.com/group/comp.lang.lisp/msg/b58497d2d6f54e1c
out of the woodwork = Emerging from obscurity or a place of seclusion. It often is put as come (or crawl) out of the woodwork, as in The candidates for this job were coming out of the woodwork. The expression alludes to insects crawling out of the interior wooden fittings of a house, such as baseboards and moldings. (AHD)

bait and switch

car dealor advertise incredibly low priced cars, to get consumer to come in to eventually buy mor expensive ones that has more margin; this is bait and switch.
bait and switch = a deceptive way of selling that involves advertising a product at a very low price in order to attract customers who are then persuaded to switch to a more expensive product.

hand over fist

All that was validated when my e-mail from Red Hat arrived, promising me tangible financial rewards for my efforts on behalf of the community. Sure, I deserved it. How many millions of people use the Linux operating system? Hadn't I written part of the code each one of them uses every single day? And how many hundreds or thousands of students used my compiler tools each semester? The time I spent was worth something, and Red Hat recognized it! Of course, I had no idea how my name ended up on their list. We hackers keep so many lists of who contributed what to which project that it's impossible to know for sure how Red Hat came up with their own selection. But in any case, all of us who had received the invitation now had a shot at real cash money. It's patently obvious to the Linux faithful that Red Hat is poised to make moolah hand-over-fist. The company's public offering was bound to soar to record levels: And I was being offered stock at the initial price!
A Linux lament: As Red Hat prepares to go public, one Linux hacker's dreams of IPO glory are crushed by The Man. By C Scott Ananian http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/1999/07/30/redhat_shares/index1.html
moolah = money.
hand over fist = At a tremendous rate. (probably originated from sailers pulling over rope fast.)

head off

Yahoo reports that PayPal is taking an aggressive stance against gambling, adult, and non-prescription drug sites: anyone caught using PayPal for these purposes will be charged $500. Eric Jackson, a former PayPal executive and author of the new book 'The PayPal Wars,' calls the new policy 'draconian' and says it is likely a two-fold strategy to discourage certain behavior while heading off regulators.
PayPal to Fine Gambling, Porn Sites “Slashdot.org” http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/09/11/1525245
head off = prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening.

• headmaster

• roughage

• poppycock

• forthright

• slipshod

• fireside

• rawboned

• slapdash

• unhinge

• underplay

• lonesome

• weasel out

• latchkey

• overweening

• overawe

• outright

• outgoing

• hardihood

• hoodwink

• untoward

• skyjack

• linchpin

• horseflesh

• hinterland

• inland

• underling

• instep

• claptrap

• shakeout

• fob off

• tumbledown

• lumberjack

• wheelbarrow

• bedpan

• byway

• underbrush

• hayrick

• backdrop

• grand slam

• outlook

• unwitting

• daresay

• rattletrap

• muckrake

• cakewalk

• outgo

• pastime

• shutterbug

• backwater

• homestretch

• underclass

• backlog

• inflow

• sidetrack

• bedevil

• solar plexus

• handiwork

• dust bowl

• class action

• psyche and soma

• by and large

• cheval glass

• gasworks

• outpatient

• inpatient

• quicksilver

• seaboard

• winsome

• highball

• crackpot

• boardwalk

• steadfast

• watershed

• drawstring

• underwhelming

• overtax

• overwrought

• pawnbroker

• upstart

• blackface

• outwardly

• underpinning

• stronghold

• underbrush

• flashpoint

• cliffhanger

• wayside

• ragtag

• freewheeling

• foxhole

• holdover

• seascape

• infighting

• nevermore

• toadstool

• puffball

• offshoot

• subserve

• bushwhack

• upwell

• handiwork

• shantytown

• folkway

• moonlighted

• towhead

• overblown

• seriocomic

• outclass

• offbeat

• upbeat

• polyglot

• polymath

• pothole

• kingpin

• runabout

• hackwork

• hobnail

• bankable

• pitchman

• matchwood

• bawdyhouse

• hothouse

• status quo

• shore up

• Buck

• foreclose

• taproom

• afoot

• backbite

• backbone

• backslide

• barnstorming

• cesspool

• doubleheader

• forsake

• gangway

• grandstand

• hotshot

• outstrip

• overhaul

• overweening

• piebald

• stopcock

• turnaround

• upend

• walkout

• despot → autocrat, not de-spot. depotism

• cheesecake, beefcake

• blackguard → rascal, imp, prankster, scamp, rogue

• jaywalk → …struck by a car while jaywalking.

• makeshift → expedient

• offhand → in the offhand and somewhat bemused fashion…

• turncoat → he is a turncoat

• upscale → …upscale New Yorkers…

• overboard → …their tactics and their rhetoric go overboard.

• wisecrack → witticism, quip, sally, gag

• Dutch courage → I don't need Dutch courage.

• far cry → A long way.

• pinprick → The pinprick attacks fail even to achieve…

scatterbrain levelheaded inland heartfelt