Category Archives: Word of the Day Haiku

Expostulate – Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku

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Today’s Dictionary.com Word of the Day is Expostulate. It means “to reason earnestly with someone against something that person intends to do or has done; remonstrate: His father expostulated with him about the evils of gambling.” 

The Etymology Dictionary tells us this about the origin of this word:

“1530s, “to demand, to claim,” from Latin expostulatus, past participle of expostulare “to demand urgently, remonstrate, find fault, dispute, complain of, demand the reason (for someone’s conduct),” from ex- “from” (see ex-) + postulare “to demand” (see postulate (v.)). Friendlier sense of “to reason earnestly (with someone) against a course of action, etc.” is first recorded in English 1570s. Related: Expostulated; expostulating.”

I did find a reference to the word as featured in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”:  “The circle closed up again with a running murmur of expostulation.” It seems that “The Great Gatsby’s” rich vocabulary has become the source of many vocabulary studies. You can find expostulation as well as many other wonderful words on vocabulary “flash cards” online. Of course there are a few other mentions of the word used in other literature, but it does not seem to have any surprising history attached to it.

That being said, I must say that there has been quite a bit of expostulating going on in recent times…and the divide grows deeper and wider.

Here’s my haiku for today’s word. Have a great weekend!

opinionated
expostulators may rant
for naught, to closed minds

~kat


Bellyacher – Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku

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Today’s word of the day on Dictionary.com is Bellyache. It has been a part of the English language since the mid-16th century. It means literally, “pain in the bowels, stomachache”, but morphed into an Americanism in the late 19th century. This new application, which most of us are familiar with, means “to complain; grumble”.

This is one of those slang words that really took off and continues in popularity; used in literature, poetry and newsprint. It’s former, more basic meaning also gets much wide usage especially in medical circles.

Many of us may remember being chided for bellyaching about this or that as children, unless of course our bellies did actually ache. Then we were indulged by our caregivers with love and tender attention. Makes my wonder if that is why we revert to the latter application of the word when we are feeling ignored, left out or left behind. If belly aches gain us comfort and attention…bellyaching ought to reward us similarly. In many cases it does. I’m reminded of the squeaky wheel. Yep. Suffering in silence rarely gets us the attention we feel we deserve, but it’s all about balance. One should avoid becoming a chronic bellyacher. It is true that bellyaching is quite contagious and terminal if not kept in check.

I suppose could bellyache about the weather, current events, life in general…but I won’t bore you. Instead here are a few haiku. Have a great weekend wherever you are! 🙂

worrisome snivelers,
bellyaching nitpickers
see empty glasses

a true bellyache
is when your belly aches;
grumbling optional

all bellyachers
share a common attribute…
rude bursts of hot air

~ kat


Sinker ~ Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku


Happy Friday! Today’s word of the day at dictionary.com is “Sinker”. It’s a fun word. It’s one of those words with several meanings:

1. a weight used to sink a fishing line or sounding line.

2. BASEBALL a pitch that drops markedly as it nears home plate.

3. a type of windsurfing board of insufficient buoyancy to support a person unless moving fast.

4. US a doughnut.

5. A cesspool.

6. a (silver) dollar

7. a person or thing that sinks.

8. a person employed in sinking, as one who sinks shafts.

from Dictionary.com  and the Fine dictionary.

And you might also be familiar with the idiom, “Hook, Line and Sinker”, a fishing term that incorporates three essential pieces of fishing tackle in angling. Also, in English language, the phrase ‘to swallow something “hook, line and sinker” ‘ is an idiomatic expression to describe a situation where a person or group accepts wholesale and uncritically an idea or set of beliefs. (From Wikipedia) .

There isn’t a whole lot to say about its etymology. It is a very popular word with several spikes in usage through time based on its application. It pretty much means what it implies in all of its incarnations…something that sinks, as in drops or dips low. I have a few Haiku for you today. Have a great weekend!

underground stinkers
vile cesspools called sinkers
an oligarch’s den

hook, line and sinker
how the gullible gobble up lies
of a deceiver

sweetens the palate
sinkers dipped in morning brew
AKA donuts

~kat


Backronym – Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku

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I LOVE today’s word of the day on dictionary.com! Backronym. Not to be confused with its cousin, the acronym, a word formed by using the first letters of a phrase, a backronym is a phrase generated using the letters of existing word or name. The word “Backronym” is itself a portmanteau (Remember that word of the day? A word formed by combining the elements of two words?) Backronym, the word, is formed by combining the word “backward” with “acronym”.

Some of the more common backronyms that you may be familiar with are: AMBER (America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) Code, and my personal favorite, SPAM (Something Posing As Meat). creating backronyms can be fun, inspirational as in the Alcoholics Anonymous words, SLIP (Sobriety Losing Its Priority) and DENIAL (Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying), and functional, as illustrated by the military’s extensive use of backronyms for various operations: CAT (Crisis Action Team), WASP (World War II’s Women Airforce Service Pilots), the US military’s personnel and benefits database, DEERS (Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System), and WOMBAT (Worldwide Observatory of Malicious Behaviours and Attack Threats) project. The military is a prolific promoter of backronyms. I am reminded of my own days as a young Marine taunted by my male counterparts’  cat-calls, “BAM” (Broad Ass Marine). Yes, the possibilities are endless!

My research into this word revealed an online Backronym Maker and a helpful site that gave the history of words assumed to be acronyms that are actually backronyms. The word was coined by Washington Post reader Meredith Williams of Potomac, Maryland who entered and won the paper’s monthly Neologism Contest in November 1983. She defined it as “the same as an acroynym, except that the words were chosen to fit the letters”. And the rest, as they say, is history! Since it is a relatively new word, it’s worth noting that there are opposing views as to whether a word is a true acronym or if it is, in fact, a backronym. It’s a “chicken or the egg” dilemma, but I think it is safe to assume that if a phrase is formed from an existing word, it might be a backronym.

And then, there are “initialisms”, also called abecedisms  (isn’t that an interesting word!) which is a term formed from the initial letter or letters of several words or parts of words, but which is itself pronounced letter by letter. Examples include ABC (American Broadcasting Company), DVD (Digital Versatile Disc), HTML (HyperText Markup Language), IBM (International Business Machines Corporation), and ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) A bit off-topic, I know, but aren’t you glad to know about initialisms too! I know I am! 😉

Here’s a Haiku to put this one to rest. Rather than use the actual word, I decided to create an example of today’s word of the day from the word “HAIKU) Have a great weekend.

HAIKU

Heady Artistic
Inspirations, oft’ Kitschy,
though Understated

~kat


Purloin-Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku

Today’s word of the day from Dictionary.com is Purloin. It “entered English in the 1400s from late Middle English purloynen, from Anglo-French purloigner “to put off, remove.” “ In our present usage it means to take dishonestly; steal; filch; pilfer and to commit theft; steal. The Merriam-Webster dictionary adds another element to the basic definition: appropriate wrongfully and often by a breach of trust.

In my usual google search I found that it is a popular word, used in poetry, literature and journalism. My favorite newsie headline is this tidbit from KWCH News:

Topeka man accused of trying to peddle crate of purloined steaks at hookah bar.

…and this one from USA Today:

A simple game about flinging fowl at purloining pigs, Angry Birds carved itself an astounding niche in mobile gaming but it’s not the only game in town.

Speaking of birds, I found the quintessential example of purloiners of the avian variety. Nasty birds, called parasitic brooders who pilfer and overtake the nests of other species, often tossing the original eggs or even eating them, in order to deposit their own. If that is not horrible enough, these shady breeders then abandon their eggs and leave the raising of their chicks to the nest owners. If host bird’s chicks do happen to survive the initial scourge of egg destruction, they often find themselves fighting a losing battle against their larger, ravenous, foreign sibling at feeding time, eventually starving to death. Some brood parasites include the cuckoo and the brown-headed cowbird. Read more HERE.

Of course birds are not the only species that purloin, but I’ll leave those other examples to your imagination! Here are a few Haiku.

Plagiarists purloin
inspiring words as their own
fools with no conscience

Cuckoo bird mothers
leave mothering to others
purloining their nests

~kat


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