Month: June 2016

beyond the pale

Outside the bounds of morality, the law, acceptable behaviour, and good judgement, etc.  Pale, as a noun, is an old term for a pointed piece of wood driven into the ground, usually a fencepost or a fence, thus a barrier. It has also been used to mean “territory under an authority’s jurisdiction.” The word is from the same Latin source…

catbird seat

In a superior or advantageous position. “Sitting pretty”! “The catbird seat” is an American idiom used to describe an enviable position, often in terms of having the upper hand in all types of dealings, but often used in describing sports. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded usage occurred in a 1942 humorous short story by James Thurber…

white elephant

A useless or troublesome possession, especially one expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of. White (albino) elephants were regarded as holy in ancient times in several Asian countries. The tradition derives from tales that associate a white elephant with the birth of the Buddha, as his mother was reputed to have dreamed of a white elephant presenting her with…

if wishes were horses, beggars would ride

This is an English language proverb and nursery rhyme, originating in the 16th century, which suggests if wishing could make things happen, then even the poorest people would have everything they wanted. One common version of the rhyme: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. If turnips were watches, I’d wear one by my side. If “if’s” and “and’s” were…

on the lam

This means ‘flight,’ as in 1897, from a US slang verb meaning ‘to run off’ (1886), of uncertain origin. It might be from the first element of lambaste, which was used in British student slang for ‘beat’ since the 1590s. If so, it would give the word the same sense as the slang expression ‘beat it.’ ‘Lam, lammister’ and ‘on…

Link correction

There is such a thing as getting TOO excited about having a book published! I put in the wrong link for Smashwords in yesterday’s post. Here’s the correct one: Smashwords.

Charger the Soldier launched today!

No mysterious words today; I’m too excited about this book being published! Here’s the back page blurb: In 2030, extraterrestrials attack Earth with poison mist and terrifying technology. Sacrificing his chance for a normal life, Henry is converted to a powerful super-soldier. He becomes Charger the Hyborg, twice as big, with metal armor as skin, artificial blood, two genetically modified…