I like words. You probably already know that about me. Over the years, I've "collected" some that fascinate and tickle me.
I like words that aren't used often--older words, I suppose. I worked for an attorney for several years who had absolutely the best sense of humor--he and I would have each other laughing about something just about every day. And here's something you may not know: Attorneys tell the best stories! Of course, attorneys tend to be pretty good with words, so I figure it comes naturally. Anyway, every now and then, this attorney would say that something made him feel quite "giddy." Of course, it was said for effect--the thought of a grown man becoming "giddy" over something is humorous in itself. But I like "giddy." I really need to use it more often.
Then there are words and phrases that aren't quite right, or that may be a little questionable. I like them too.
I remember when I was young--like teenager or young adult young--I always thought the correct phrase was "not by a long shot" until I read in a book, "not by a long chalk." Well, who knows how each of us interprets what we hear? "Shot" and "chalk" sound very similar, don't they? We often hear things a bit wrong, especially phrases. So which was correct? I've occasionally heard the phrase and wondered: Is it "shot" or "chalk"? Which is it?
Turns out they're both right. Now that we have the internet, it's simple to find answers, and here's what I came across:
"Whether it was suggested by a difficult long shot attempted in archery or shooting isn't known, but the expression 'a long shot' first arose in British racing circles some 128 years ago as a bet laid at large odds, a bold wager. NOT BY A LONG SHOT therefore means hopelessly out of reckoning. Attempts have been made to derive the saying from the slightly earlier NOT BY A LONG CHALK, which comes from the use of chalk for reckoning points in tavern games. But 'not by a long chalk' means 'not by much,' so it seems that the phrase (long shot) derives from either archery or shooting." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997). So there you go: You learn something new every day!
In high school, we had to take a foreign language, and I took French. The only other options were Spanish and German. Not that I remember much French--come to think of it, I probably didn't even really LEARN enough to REMEMBER. I seriously don't do well with anything other than good old English. (I even failed at shorthand!) One word I do remember, though, is "Voila!" And I don't know how or when it happened, but in recent years, I often see "Walla!" written instead--it seems to have become quite common. Maybe it became popular during that time when everyone in America hated France and started calling French fries "freedom fries." Remember that? Or maybe it's like the difference between "long shot" and "long chalk." The first couple times I saw "walla!," I was puzzled, but now I know it's an American variation on "voila." I just hope that if I use "Voila!," people will understand what I mean.
The funniest "wrong word" incident--and maybe this was rather mean spirited of me--was when an attorney I worked for made handwritten revisions to a document to be filed with the court. Where she wanted to say "for all intents and purposes," she wrote "for all intensive purposes." Now you'd think that after seven years of post-high school education--in a field where WORDS are so important--an attorney would have some grasp of common phrases, wouldn't you? The funny thing is that this particular attorney was a pain in the you-know-what, and that day, she'd truly tested my patience. Perhaps, then, you'll understand when I tell you that I still get a little giddy when I remember that I didn't correct her mistake.
Here's your word for today:
Definition: 1. a. Having a reeling, lightheaded sensation; dizzy. b. Causing or capable of causing dizziness: a giddy climb to the topmast. 2. Frivolous and lighthearted; flighty.
Use it in a sentence. And hey! Have a giddy day!