Vocabulary / Knowledge

Telling Some 'Folk' Tales

Q. During a recent plane trip, the chief flight attendant repeatedly referred to us passengers as "folks." There was not a single "ladies and gentlemen." But how appropriate is "folks" to begin with? I was taught that "folk" is already plural (...

Today's Word "attaint"

attaint \eh-TEYNT\ (verb) - To disgrace, sully, or taint something or someone's reputation. Originally, the act of attainting meant conviction of a crime but later it was used to refer to conviction by legislation without benefit of trial. "...

Today's Word "Nephelococcygia"

Nephelococcygia \ne-feh-leh-kak-SI-je-yeh\ (noun) - 1 : (Literally, "Cloudcuckoosville") Interpreting the shapes of clouds. 2 : La-la land, a dream land cut off from reality.

"Harold's boss told him that he was engaging in more than a bit of ...

Today's Word "precipitous"

precipitous \pri-SI-peh-tehs\ (adjective) - Extremely steep and thus resembling a precipice. "Phillip's precipitate decision to climb the precipitous precipice precipitated his demise." The etymologies of "precipitous," "precipitate" and "...

Today's Word "obstreperous"

obstreperous \ub-STREP-uh-russ\ (adjective) - 1 : uncontrollably noisy 2 : stubbornly resistant to control : unruly "Jared admitted that he had been an obstreperous teenager until he got his first summer job and learned some self-discipline....

'Who' or 'Whom'? Heed the Verb

Q: This headline appeared over a newspaper story about anonymous kidney donations: "For whomever needs it most." Is "whomever" correct because it is the object of the preposition "for"? Or should it be "whoever," the subject of "whoever needs it...