Friday, August 27, 2010

If God Had Texted the 10 Commandments

by Jamie Quatro

1. no 1 b4 me. srsly.
2. dnt wrshp pix/idols
3. no omg's
4. no wrk on 2/end (sat 4 now; sun l8r)
5. pos ok - ur m&d r cool
6. dnt kill ppl
7. :-X only w/m8
8. dnt steal
9. dnt lie re: bf
10. dnt ogle ur bf's m8. or ox. or dnkey. myob.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How Many Ways Can You Say Vomit?

English is a colorful language. Maybe lots of languages are equally colorful; I wouldn't know, since I only speak English. But English, for sure, is colorful.

For example, how many ways can one express the idea of vomiting?

throw up
get sick
spit up (only appropriate for newborns)

And those were just off the top of my head. A quick perusal of a thesaurus adds:

bring up
retch (good one!)

But the best ones are the euphemisms that I suspect were all created by college frat boys:

toss your cookies
lose your lunch
shout at your shoes
blow chow
the multicolored yawn
drive the big white Buick
recycle your lunch

I have declined to include many of the most colorful expressions because they made me, well, a little nauseated. If you are really curious, you can see more at (I am not making this up. Click at your own risk).

And to those who are already planning to e-rebuke me for this post: you are right. I apologize.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

How Nerds Shape Language

I'm old enough now to assume that I'm always way behind the times. I guess it takes longer for slang and cultural idioms to trickle down to forty-somethings. I apologize, therefore, to any geeky but culturally aware readers for only recently discovering the word "pwned."

For the likewise ignorant, it's pronounced "poned": rhymes with "owned."

It's not coincidental either. The word is used to describe the victim of a practical joke, or the loser in a battle (usually a computer/video game virtual battle), as in "You got pwned!" or "I totally pwned you!"

When I was a high school teacher a decade ago, the word was "used."

So, what gives with the spelling and weird pronunciation? The most common explanation is that the programmer of a popular computer game mistyped the word "owned," which appeared on screen when the player lost. He hit the "p" key instead of the "o" key, and nobody caught it. At least not for a long while.

So instead of getting "owned," losers got "pwned."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Used or Pre-Owned?

I just heard an ad on the radio for a local car dealer. It occurred to me that used cars are now commonly referred to as "pre-owned" cars. But the prefix "pre-" doesn't mean "previously" does it? It means "before" as in pregame, Precambrian, prepaid and, well, prefix. A pre-owned car should mean a car that has not yet been owned--and therefore new. Right?

What "With All Due Respect" Really Means...

I don't care who you are, or who you think you are, I'm about to give you a piece of my mind.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Some Shakespeare We Didn't Know Was Shakespeare

It's pretty mind-blowing how much William Shakespeare has influenced our language. He's been gone about 400 years, but we keep using his expressions. All of the following oft-repeated phrases come from the Bard:

All that glitters is not gold
As (good) luck would have it
Bated breath
Be-all and end-all
Discretion is the better part of valor (Orig: The better part of valor is discretion)
Brave new world
Brevity is the sould of wit
Come what may (Orig: Come what come may)
Crack of doom
Dead as a doornail
Devil incarnate
Eaten me out of house and home
Elbow room
Fool's paradise
Forever and a day
For goodness' sake
Foregone conclusion
The game is up
Give the devil his due
Good riddance
It was Greek to me
Heart of gold
Hoist with his own petard
Household words
My kingdom for a horse!
In a pickle
In my mind's eye
Kill with kindness
Killing frost
Knock, Knock! Who's there?
Laughing stock
Lie low
Love is blind
Melted into thin air
There's a method to my madness (Orig: Though this be madness, yet there is method in it)
Milk of human kindness
Naked truth
Neither rhyme nor reason
Not slept one wink
One fell swoop
Out of the jaws of death
Own flesh and blood
Parting is such sweet sorrow
A piece of work
A plague on both your houses
Play fast and loose
Pomp and circumstance
Pound of flesh
Primrose path
Make short shrift
Sick at heart
A sorry sight
Spotless reputation
Still waters run deep (Orig: Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep)
A twice-told tale
Set my teeth on edge
Tell the truth and shame the devil
There's the rub
To thine own self be true
Too much of a good thing
Tower of strength
Wear my heart upon my sleeve
What the dickens
What's done is done
Wild-goose chase
Working-day world
The world's my oyster
Yeoman's service

How many times have you used these expressions, or heard them used? How many did you know originated with the Bard?