graffiti

“Graffiti” (both singular and plural) is writing or drawings on a wall or other surface, usually without permission and within public view. Graffiti has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to ancient Egypt, Greece, and the Roman Empire. Graffiti often has a reputation as part of a subculture that rebels against authority. “Graffiti” is from the Italian word…

your mind’s eye

Your “mind’s eye” is your visual memory or imagination. Common examples of mental images include daydreaming, the mental visualization that occurs while reading a book, and the pictures summoned by athletes during training or before a competition. This ability to create mental representations of things, people, and places that are absent from your visual field is important for problem-solving, memory,…

barbarian

 1: a person from an alien land, culture, or group believed to be inferior, uncivilized, or violent — used chiefly in historical references 2: a barbarous person, a rude, crude, brutal, cruel person (1300s) Barbarians can be members of any nation judged by some to be less civilized or orderly, such as a tribal society, primitive nomads, or social class…

the ninth word herd

Crotchety — given to crotchets: subject to whims, crankiness or ill temper. (1825) “Crotchet” means a small hook, a brooch, a peculiar device, or a highly individual and usually eccentric opinion or preference which may result in the aforesaid crankiness. ~~~~~~~~~~ Duffle — a coarse heavy woolen material with a thick nap, or a slang word for a sailor’s belongings,…

tontine

tontine A “tontine” is an investment plan for raising capital, devised in the 17th century and relatively widespread in the 18th and 19th centuries. Louis XIV of France used tontines to save his ailing treasury and to fund municipal projects. Each investor pays a sum into the tontine. Each investor then receives annual interest on the capital invested. As each…

Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!

This term is a command to go as fast as you can, at maximum power. This saying is credited to David Glasgow Farragut (1801-1870) – a US naval officer, who became famous for his service to the Union during the American Civil War. In 1864, at the Battle of Mobile Bay, he refused to retreat, shouting the now famous phrase. …

mortar and pestle

mortar and pestle  “Mortar and pestle” are implements used to prepare ingredients or substances by crushing and grinding them into a fine paste or powder in kitchen, laboratory, and pharmacy. The mortar is a bowl. The pestle is a heavy, blunt club-shaped object. The substance to be ground, which may be wet or dry, is placed in the mortar, and…

eat, drink, and be merry

eat, drink, and be merry “Eat, drink and be merry (for tomorrow we may die)” is a proverb that promotes enjoying life in the moment because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring and maybe there won’t be a tomorrow. The proverb came from the Bible. Ecclesiastes 8:15: “Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under…

in like Flynn

This rhyming phrase has long been associated with Errol Flynn, an Australian actor who had a reputation for womanizing, drinking, and brawling.  In November 1942, two under-age girls accused him of statutory rape. A group was organized to support Flynn, named the American Boys’ Club for the Defense of Errol Flynn (ABCDEF); its members included William F. Buckley, Jr. The…

monkey’s uncle

The term “monkey’s uncle,” in the idiom “well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!” is used to express complete surprise, amazement or disbelief. It can also be used to acknowledge the impossibility of a situation, in the same way that “pigs might fly” is used. The term is assumed to be a reference to Darwin’s Origin of Species of 1859, in…