Word of the Week: internecine

This Wednesday’s Word of the Week is: internecine

Internecine is an adjective that refers to a struggle between factions, particularly one that is especially brutal and mutually destructive.

The word is pronounced inter-nee-seen.  I’ve always been a bit mystified by this word and I’ve never really understood the full meaning of it.

I’ve heard it used in phrases like: “internecine fighting” and have caught the meeting of squabbling between different factions but have never gotten the sense of essential brutality from the context.

Adding to my confusion, I’ve always heard it pronounced inter-nigh-seen.  This formed a connection in my mind to the Nicene Creed which I learn while growing up Catholic.  This always gave me the vague though of it having come from theological disagreements.

While I realize that these types of arguments can, and in fact do, lead to brutal struggles, at the time (I suppose because I was young) I had a much more benign mental picture.


Word of the Week Wednesday: contumacious

This Wednesday’s Word of the Week is: contumacious

Contumacious is an adjective which means, willful, pig-headed or rebellious.

One might say that a rapscallion can often be contumacious.

The origin of this word is hard to pin down, but I am just rather fond of the -acious suffix for some reason.

Word of the Week Wednesday: rapscallion

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

Rapscallion is another word for a scamp, a rogue or a rascal.

The connotation of the word is a trouble-maker who is mischievous rather than mean-spirited or truly harmful.

The word makes me think of those window-clings of Calvin peeing on things (often a rival sports team).

I generally find them obnoxious but more or less harmless (much as one might find a rapscallion).

The word always sticks in my mind from the song: “Be Italian” from the musical “Nine”.  I never saw the musical, but the performed the number during on of the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethons when I was growing up.

Neither the memory, the musical, nor the word itself are overwhelming positive to me, but I suppose it’s just how my memory works.

Word of the Week Wednesday: squamous

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

Squamous is an adjective that means scaly.  This includes the meanings of both scale-like and composed of scales.

The “squ” construct brings to mind unwholesome words such as squeamish, squalid or squicky.  It also doesn’t help that many squamous things like lizards and snakes imbue in many people deep feelings of revulsion.

Squamous is also one of the more commonly used words of H. P. Lovecraft like cyclopean and eldritch.


2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,300 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

%d bloggers like this: