Word of the Week Wednesday: paroxysm

This Wednesday’s Word of the Week is: paroxysm.

A paroxysm is an uncontrollable outburst or fit.

Clinically, it is used to describe things like seizures.

Less formally, it describes a sudden outburst of emotion as in a paroxysm of rage or laughter.  It is not only sudden and uncontrollable, but should also be outwardly obvious.

The word comes from the Greek root oxy- meaning sharp or acute which describes both the suddenness and the intensity of the outburst.


Word of the Week Wednesday: ossify

This Wednesdays Word of the week is: ossify

To ossify is to turn into bone.  Usually this refers to cartilage becoming bone.

Figuratively, to ossify means to grow rigid in habits and opinions.

What strikes me about this word is that a word that essentially means to harden is dominated by the soft “s” sound.

Word of the Week Wednesday: hornswoggle

This Wednesday’s Word of the Week is: hornswoggle.

I’ve always found hornswoggle to be a kind of funny, Yosemite Sam-type word.

It means to cheat or swindle.

I can’t recall ever hearing the word used in a way that was not intended to be humorous.

Perhaps back in prospector days or the wild, wild West, it was used seriously, or maybe just any time before the Looney Tunes.

As far as the origin of the word?  Who can tell?

The Word Detective tells a story about a book he read where it was explained as a cow wriggling out of a tether but can’t attest to its accuracy.


Speech Contest Double Feature

We’re well into Speech Contest Season here in District 66 Toastmasters.

In the Fall, we hold Evaluation contests and Humorous Speech contests.

Since, as a District Officer, I can’t compete this year, I performed the test speech for the Evaluation Contestants in my home club to evaluate.

I took the opportunity to present my first project speech from the Humorously Speaking Advanced Communicator manual, Warm Up Your Audience.  The goal of this project is to present a serious speech that starts with a humorous story.

Additionally, the Area Contest are being held this month.  My contest will be held at the end of the month, the last contest in Division D.

In the meantime, I am helping my fellow Area Governors with their contests.

This past Saturday, two areas held their contests back-to-back.  I volunteered to be the test speaker for the first contest and stayed around to watch the second one.  As it turns out, the test speaker for the second contest couldn’t make it, so I gave an encore performance.

I’ll be giving the speech one more time this Wednesday as Test Speaker for an Area Contest for an Area in another Division and this coming Saturday, I’ll be volunteering at another Area Contest, back in my own Division this time.

My plan is to pick up as much as I can from the other Area Contests before I hold my own.

Word of the Week Wednesday: evanescent

This Wednesday’s Word of the Week (slightly delayed) is: evanescent.

Evanescent means fading away.  It can also mean barely perceptible.

What I like most about this word is the sense, from both meanings, of a tantalizing almost gone quality.

It’s the word on the tip of your tongue.

It’s the flash in the corner of your eye.

It’s the wonderful dream that you can’t quite remember but want to go back to.

Sadly, however much I like the meaning of the word, it always reminds me of effervescent (meaning bubbly) which, although a fine word, I like less.

It also calls to mind the band of the same name, which I also like less.



Table Topics Thursday: Topic 18

This Thursday’s Table Topics question is: When teleportation is finally possible, where will you beam yourself first?

I don’t know if other people have also fantasized as much as I have about teleporting, but it’s always something I wish I could do.  It’s always been one of my top few choices when the question of which superpower I’d like to have comes up.  Maybe I’m just lazy.

That being the case, my first ‘port would likely be somewhere close: maybe to the grocery store (depending on how much I could carry with me) or to work.

I’m quite happy with my current commute.  If traffic is good it rarely takes me longer than five minutes to get to work.

That answers where I would likely teleport to first, I would probably use the teleporter to visit my family up north more often.  It would, hopefully, be cheaper than flying and quicker.

Of course, I’d probably enjoy traveling the world too.

So, what do you think: When teleportation is finally possible, where will you beam yourself first?

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