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harbinger

PRONUNCIATION: (HAHR-bin-juhr)

MEANING:
noun: One that foreshadows the approach of something.
verb tr.: To signal the arrival of something.

ETYMOLOGY:
Originally, a harbinger was a host, a person who provided lodging. With time the sense changed to a person sent in advance to find lodging for an army. From Old French herbergier (to provide lodging for), from herberge (lodging). Ultimately from the Indo-European root koro- (war, host, army) which also gave us harbor, herald, harness, hurry, harangue, and harry. Earliest documented use: 1175.

USAGE:
"It is hard to elude the suspicion that it is a harbinger of further things to come."
Colby Cosh; Trigger Warnings are Easy to Ridicule; Maclean's (Toronto, Canada); Jun 2, 2014.
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HARBINDER - a harbinger past that binds future thinking
(see below)

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
We are social creatures to the inmost centre of our being. The notion that one can begin anything at all from scratch, free from the past, or unindebted to others, could not conceivably be more wrong. -Karl Popper, philosopher and a professor (1902-1994)

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HARBUNGER - the war cry of the Koomananga tribe.


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obsequious

PRONUNCIATION: (ob-SEE-kwee-uhs, uhb-)

MEANING:
adjective: Behaving in an ingratiating or servile manner.

ETYMOLOGY:
Earlier the word meant obedient or dutiful, with no connotations of fawning. Over time it has taken a negative turn. From Latin obsequiosus (compliant), from obsequi (to comply), from ob- (to) + sequi (follow), which also gave us obsequy. Earliest documented use: 1447.

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OBSEXQUIOUS - adjective: Behaving in an ingratiating sexual manner with no accompanying connotations of fawning.

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restive

PRONUNCIATION: (RES-tiv)

MEANING: adjective: Restless, uneasy.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Middle French rester (to remain), from Latin restare (to remain standing). Ultimately from the Indo-European root sta- (to stand), which is also the source of stay, stage, stable, instant, establish, static, system, stet and nihil obstat. Earliest documented use: 1549.

NOTES:
Earlier the word meant refusing to go forward, as in a restive horse. Over time the word shifted in meaning and now it means the opposite. Instead of "unable to advance", now it means "unable to remain still".
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FESTIVE - today's "restive".

jenny jenny #217906 07/31/14 04:26 AM
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garble

PRONUNCIATION: (GAHR-buhl)
MEANING:
verb tr.: To distort a message, document, transmission, etc.
noun: An instance of garbling.

ETYMOLOGY:
Originally the word meant to sift, for example to remove refuse from spices. With time its meaning became distorted to what it is now. From Old Italian garbellare (to sift), from Arabic gharbala (to select). Earliest documented use: 1483.
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GARBILE - angry words so vile they are unintelligible

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pabulum

PRONUNCIATION: (PAB-yuh-luhm)
MEANING:
noun: Bland intellectual fare: insipid or simplistic ideas, entertainment, writing, etc.
ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin pabulum (food, fuel, fodder), from pascere (to feed). Ultimately from the Indo-European root pa- (to protect or feed), which also gave us food, foster, fodder, forage, pasture, pantry, and companion. Earliest documented use: 1661.

NOTES:
Originally pabulum was something that nourished. During the 1920s, three Canadian pediatricians developed a bland, soft infant formula that was later marketed under the brand name Pablum and eventually the words pabulum/pablum came to refer to things simplistic or banal.

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PABALUME - a seemingly bland thought that under closer examination reveals great illumination

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PUBULUM - a few beers and you will call a pub anything.


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stalagmite

PRONUNCIATION: (stuh-LAG-myt, STAL-uhg-myt)

MEANING:
noun: A conical column on the floor of a cave, formed by minerals in dripping water.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek stalaktos (dripping), from stalassein (to drip). Earliest documented use: 1681.

NOTES:
A similar tapering structure hanging from the roof of a cave is called a stalactite. It's easy to remember which is which. Ground: stalaGmite; Ceiling: stalaCtite.
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STALAGMIT9 - a special underground Hell where the National Spleological Society sends careless people who break off stalagmites and stalactites.

* Been there, done that. frown


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STALAGMINE - my personal rat race

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stroppy
PRONUNCIATION: STROP-ee)
MEANING:
adjective: Bad-tempered, belligerent, or touchy.


ETYMOLOGY:
Possibly from shortening of obstreperous. Earliest documented use: 1951.
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ASTROPPY - the theory that all the dark matter in the Universe has entropyzed. Some say that this assumption is self-evident because our inability to detect dark matter proves that all of it is gone.

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