Sunday, September 20, 2009


Here are the corrections and explanations for last week's entries. I told you they would be late Sunday.



A “moot point” can be a point worth discussing at a meeting or in court such as an unresolved question or it can be the opposite: a point already settled and not worth discussing further.

Mute point” is simply wrong and cannot be used.



All of these short forms are Latin in derivation.

The short form, “etc.”, is et cetera, meaning “and so on”.
“He had a list of food he wanted: oranges, pears, bananas, etc.”

The short form, “e.g.”, means “for example”.
I like everything about her; e.g., I really like her hair.”

The short form, “et. al.”, and “et alii” (pl.), means “and others”.
I have read several works by Dickens such as “A Tale of Two Cities”, “A Christmas Carol”, et. alii.”

The short form, “N. B.” stands for “Nota Bene” and means note well”. Note the necessary capitalization.
“N.B., my name is spelled ‘Michael’, not ‘Micheal’.”

The short form, “op.”, stands for “opus” or “work”, usually of art.
"Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, op. 125, is really beautiful."

The short form, “viz.”, stands for “vidilicet” and means “namely”.

The short form, “i.e.”, stands for “id est” and means “that is”.
I said I would do it, i.e., I will rewrite the test.”



A “travesty” (n.) is a disaster that could be described as a farce or a degraded imitation. It is also a comedy characterized by broad satire and improbable situations. It is also related to”transvestite”. (I’m not going there because I am not trying to insult anyone.)

A “travesty” (v.) means to make a parody of something or someone.

“It is a travesty that he is being considered for office.”

A “tragedy” is a piece of drama in which the hero loses. It is an accident, a cataclysm or a catastrophe.
“Macbeth” and “Hamlet” are great tragedies by Shakespeare .



Ascribe” means to attribute or to attach, rightly or wrongly, a belief to someone.

Subscribe” means to agree with a theory or idea1 of someone or to order a magazine or newspaper.



Reluctant” means a reluctance to express emotion, loath to admit a mistake or an unwillingness to face facts.

Reticent” denotes only an aversion or unwillingness to speak.


“A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.”
Marshall McLuhan authored those words.


A “mummer” (n.) is an actor who communicates entirely by gesture or facial expression, a mime or one who wears a mask or fantastical disguise.
The words “mummery”, “mummy” and “mummify” have the same root.

Castigate” (v.) means to chasten, to chastise or to correct.

Nihilism” (n.) refers to a doctrine that advocates destruction of the social system for its own sake. It also means a complete denial of established authority and institutions.

Categorical” (adj.) means not modified or restricted by reservations or unconditional or unqualified acceptance.

Polyglot” (n.) refers to a person who speaks more than one language.
The root is “poly”, meaning many.

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