Issue 138, page 4

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From Anke:

I just read your 137 edition, with an etymology of the Australianism bonzer meaning "good". Just in case you like to know, there is a German noun, called Bonze, which means something like "rich and or powerful person (the latter often political)" but has a clear negative connotation. It connotes to misusing power, showing off the money and in general being a non-likable person with a big distance to normal folks. For example, members of the (former) East German socialist government where often called Bonzen because they had extra shops, extra holiday resorts, extra income, other privileges such as traveling, did not mix (much or at all) with the normal people and supported each other in achieving even more privileges. 

Although I lack the time to read all your issues I wish I had it, I really admire your work!

Thanks for that interesting bit of information, Anke, and for your kind words!

From Bruce Yanoshek:

In response to Anthony Stevens, pomposity is part of being a curmudgeon, so I parade my ignorance proudly. Thank you for correcting me, since my dictionary is unable to do so. It shows only one meaning (with a few minor variations) for "regime," and I mistakenly believed it.

In American English, the meaning your dictionary offers is probably the most often-used.

From Bruce Yanoshek:

You say "It is spelled reneg or renegue. ", but I have never seen it spelled other than renege, which is how my dictionary has it.

From Jeff Lee:

Glad to see you back again! I missed my weekly fix.  In "Words to the Wise" of Issue 137, you write:

No, this word does not have racist origins! It is spelled reneg or renegue. We come across the former spelling in the U.S. and the latter is British.

Was the US spelling a typo? My dictionary doesn't list reneg, but it does have renege (which was how I was taught to spell it).

Reneg is an alternative spelling, but the more popular spelling in the U.S. is, in fact, renege.

From Bob van der Poel:

I've been having some funny problems, and I finally figured out the problem. Each time (week) I click on the 'spotlight' icon I get an old article. Hmmm, well the reason is simple: the link under the 'spotlight' icon is for an old article (TOW112), the one under the text 'Spotlight' is correct of the current issue.  Also, the icons for Curmudgeons' Corner and Sez You... don't have links at all. Oh, neither do New and Book Store. Hope this is new and helpful. 

It was both!  We've corrected those problems.  Thanks, Bob. 

From Joseph Byrd:

Roaming through your back issues, I came upon the little verse on word processor spell checkers. It occurred to me that mine has expanded its vocabulary and now includes proper names and even foreign words that are in current use. So I started fiddling around (anything to avoid working), and came up with an updated variation on the original. This is WordPerfect 8. 

I halve myself ah spelt Czech
It came with my peace sea
It plane Leigh Marx firm eye revue
Missed stakes eye Cannes Nazi
Aye putt this poem threw it
Yule sure beak lad two no
Its vary polished in it's whey
My spelt Czech tolled miso

[Punctuation can make this seem almost coherent, but that's bending the rules too far.]

Well done, Joseph!

From Jimmie Ellis:

Love your web site! It is GREAT!  I run Netscape 6 on Windows 98 and have experienced many of the problems mentioned. For the small, difficult to distinguish fonts, I simply go to 'View' at the top of the page and tell it to give me a text size of 120% or even 150% if my eyes are tired. The page two bugaboo was irritating until I decided to ignore it. 

Now, about the wl- words [Issue 137, letters], I have checked two library-size dictionaries, the Random House Dictionary of the English Language, and Websters' Third New International Dictionary, as well as Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, Longman's Dictionary of Contemporary English (these last two published in the UK), and the Microsoft Encarta College Dictionary (thanks to TOWFI) and found no wl- words at all. I am mightily curious about their pronunciation, as well as meaning. Are they Welsh? Please enlighten me. Again, you guys are doing a super great job! Thank you.

Good guess of Welsh, but they're not.  They can be found in the all-encompassing Oxford English Dictionary, and outside of that probably only in collections of odd archaic words.

From Michael Naray:

Just a quick one, WRT [last] week's Curmudgeons' Corner:

"To cut off my nose despite my face."

Good one!  There are more:

From Liz Crain:

OK, "doggie dog world" reminded me of this one:

A long time ago in high school, my Speech and Debate teacher told me that his sister, a Kindergarten teacher, overheard one of her young students beginning the Pledge of Allegiance as follows: "I led the pigeons to the flag...." Yeah, I know that technically it's not an example of a common misuse of the language, but it sure is FUNNY!!!!

Tee hee!

From Mark Lutton:

In newspapers I've seen a few "Web sights" among the "Web sites".

A word I haven't heard much of lately is "Malapropism". Too bad, because I've been hearing so many Malapropisms lately. (Mrs. Malaprop was a character in Sheridan's play "The Rivals." She was the epistle of wrong-word usage; they permanganated her speech.)

From Bruce Yanoshek:

I have recently seen "run rapid" for "run rampant" and frequently see "tow the line" for "toe the line."

A certain call-in radio program's host frequently talks about "waxing eloquently", apparently not quite knowing what the expression means.

From Dave Zecchini:

I love the "tact" vs. "tack" comment...I hear that one often.  The one that sends my teeth grinding is "for all intensive purposes". I can take intents, and purposes, but I'm still not sure what to do about "intensive purposes"...

Aargh, make it stop!

From Mike and Melanie:

We checked with our Cantonese-speaking friends regarding bonzer/bonza and "good gold" (see last week's Words to the Wise) and they could come up with nothing that might have been corrupted into bonza/bonzer.   Of course, that's not saying a whole lot.  However, unless someone comes up with some better evidence, the Cantonese connection is pure speculation.


Comments, additions? Send to Melanie & Mike:
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Last Updated 10/31/01 06:49 PM