October 28, 2007


Nosism - The use of 'we' in referring to oneself.

As I keep my nose to the grindstone, I decided to break the monotony of my current rigorous academic life to write this post. The word came today in mail and I had to share it. No great story behind its etymology though. It's simply derived from the Latin word, nos that means "we" and is also known as the "editorial we" due to its frequent use by the editors. Also called "the royal we" owing to royalty using it often. You have to read the trivia though :D

Trivia: Mark Twain once said, "Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the 'editorial we'".

Source: www.wordsmith.org

October 18, 2007


Meaning - act of bantering,joking,jesting,pleasantry.

During the 17th century, the word "banter" appeared in low slang.Initially it was used more for aggressive and vicious exchanges rather than mild or friendly exchange of teasing remarks. The first appearance of the word was seen in the play Madam Fickle,dated in 1676 by Thomas D'Urfey, in which Zechiel cries to his old brother "Banter him ,banter him Toby".
The notorious meaning of "Banter" actually was coined by Jonathan Swift in the famous article he wrote for The Tatler in 1710.In it he attacked what he called "The continual corruption of our English tongue". Same year he wrote about the word in his apology to The Tale of a Tub, that "This polite word of theirs was first borrowed from the bullies in White-Friars, then fell among the footmen and at last retired to the pedants; by whom it is applied as properly to the productions of wit as if I should apply it to Sir Isaac Newton's mathematics".

Source - http://www.worldwidewords.org

October 15, 2007

Deja vu

Guest Post by Radha

'Déjà vu' is a french term that literally means "already seen" and has several variations, including 'déjà vécu', already experienced; 'déjà senti', already thought; and 'déjà visité', already visited. French scientist Emile Boirac, one of the first to study this strange phenomenon, gave the subject its name in 1876.

Trivia: Research shows that almost 70% of people experience 'deja vu' at least once before the age of 25 and that it is usually triggered not by big events but by life's mundane details (like the pattern of the dishes stacked in the kitchen or the window-display in a shop).

My favourite theory explaining 'deja vu' is from the movie "The Matrix" :)

NEO: A black cat went past us and then I saw another that looked just like it.

TRINITY: How much like it? Was it the same cat?

NEO: It might have been. I'm not sure. What is it?

TRINITY: A deja vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something.

October 01, 2007


Laconic - Terse and concise

I still remember 666's fascination with Zach Snyder's movie "300" and the lengthy discourses he delved into before the movie was released. I never got around to watching the movie but the dialogues he listed on one of his posts stayed with me. Little did I know then, that they will lead me to origin of the word laconic. Laconia is the name of a region of Greece of which Sparta was the capital. The Spartans, noted for being warlike and disciplined, were also known for the bluntness of the speech and for their dry wit. And hence the word laconic!

Trivia: An example of a Spartan laconic exchange: When Philip II of Macedon turned his attention to Sparta after having key Greek city-states in submission, he sent a message: "If I win this war, you will be slaves forever." The Spartans sent back a one word reply: "If".

Sources: www.answers.com, Google Images