Month: November 2020

cherry picking

“Cherry picking” describes a situation where only select evidence is presented in order to persuade the audience to accept a position, and any evidence against the position is withheld. It’s a hallmark of poor science or pseudo-science. A one-sided argument (aka card stacking, stacking the deck, ignoring the counter-evidence, slanting, and suppressed evidence) is an informal fallacy that occurs when…

tickled pink

The expression “tickled pink” is derived from the 1600s meaning of “tickle” which is to give pleasure or gratify. The word “pink” is, no doubt, derived from the fact that one’s face may turn pink or red with the rosy glow of pleasure. Synonyms: delighted, pleased, thrilled, overjoyed.  The use of “tickling” to mean pleasure is represented in the following…

carry coals to Newcastle

The phrase “carry coals to Newcastle” means to do something wholly pointless.  Newcastle Upon Tyne in England was the UK’s first coal exporting port and has been well-known as a coal mining centre since the Middle Ages. Therefore, sending coal to Newcastle was a complete waste of time. The association of the city with coal and the phrase itself are…

the fifth word herd

Ithyphallic — a type of meter used in ancient Greek poetry. Credited to Archilochus, the meter was that of the Bacchic hymns, which were sung in the rites during which (presumably wooden) phalluses were carried in procession at these festivals. It is used now to mean having an erect penis, usually used of figures in an art representation, and for…

incunabula

“Incunable” is the anglicized singular form of incunabula, Latin for “swaddling clothes” or “cradle,” which can refer to “the earliest stages or first traces in the development of anything.” Incunabula are early printed books, especially ones printed before 1501 and do not include hand-written manuscripts.  The term incunabula, as a printing term, was first used by the Dutch physician and…

in cahoots

“In cahoots with” means in league with, or collaboration to nefarious ends. It’s also been used at times to mean a company or partnership. The Oxford English Dictionary says that English got the expression from the Scots in the 1500s, with a little help from the French, more specifically, that the expression is “probably” from the French cahute, meaning a…

virtue signalling

The term “virtue signaling” means to act or speak publicly in a way that shows off how much more moral you are than everybody else. According to the Oxford Dictionary, virtue signaling is “the action or practice of publicly expressing opinion or sentiments intended to demonstrate one’s good character or the moral correctness of one’s position on a particular issue.”…

short stack

Absquatulate — to flee or abscond (mock-Latin word, American, 1837) Flapdoodler — one who talks nonsense (often political) Jibber-jabber — inchoherent rapid speech Lubitorium — an automobile service station Omnifarious — dealing with all kinds of things (1653) Phobanthropy — the morbid dread of mankind Quockerwodger — a wooden puppet, or a politician controlled by secret powers Rawky — foggy,…

mind over matter

“Mind over matter” has been used in several contexts, such as mind-centric spiritual doctrines, parapsychology, and philosophy. I’d say the simplest definition is “will power.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines mind as “the element or complex of elements in an individual that feels, perceives, thinks, wills, and especially reasons” and mind over matter as “a situation in which someone is able…