Word of the Week

Kikubari, a Japanese word, means thoughtful consideration for others. It’s neat that they have one word that English needs 4 to define. I found this while flipping through Discover Japan: Words, Customs and Concepts, M. Matsumoto, ed.

To really understand the word, we need more context. Here’s a bit from Jack Halpern’s  explanation in this book:

On your layout of a Japanese home, you have no doubt noted that the lady of the house has gone to the trouble to arrange your shoes, whisk you left in the entrance hall pointing away from the door, so that they point towards the door. This is just one of many examples of that subtle, rather elusive concept of kikubari, which among others, gives Japanese culture its unique flavor.

According to the dictionary, kikubari means “vigilant attention, care.” But, as is often the case, there is a significant gap between the dictionary definition of culture-bound words and their actual applications. . . . [K]ikubari is to concern oneself, or more precisely, to go to the trouble of concerning oneself, with other people by giving thoughtful consideration to their needs and feelings

How noble. I think serendipity of seeing this word has shown me what my advent practice should be. I should try to practice kikubari as much as I can or at least once a day.


Word of the Week

I got an email with a slew of these sentences from my father. I like the sound of this word and the sentences themselves amuse.

Paraprosdokian, n.

The term for a figure of speech in which a sentence or phrase has an unexpected or surprising ending. Often used for humourous effect, and thus heavily used by comedians.


  • “Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.”
  • “If I am reading this graph correctly – I would be very surprised.” — Stephen Colbert
  • “If you are going through hell, keep going.” — Winston Churchill
  • >li>”I sleep 8 hours a day. And at least 10 at night.” — Bill Hicks

“paraprosdokian.” (n.d.) Urban Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Senpai

Word of the Week

fardel n. (FAHR-dl)

1. A bundle.
2. A burden.

From Old French fardel, diminutive of farde (package, burden), from Arabic farda (piece, pack). Earliest documented use: 1300.

“He could be seen on the first night of every full moon, looking down with a fardel of twigs strapped with vines to his back.”
McDonald Dixon; Saints of Little Paradise; Xlibris; 2012.

“It was selfish of me to link you with so much wretchedness, and join you with me in bearing the fardel of neverending anxiety and suspense.”
Frederick Marryat; The Phantom Ship; E.L. Carey & A. Hart; 1839.

Word of the Week

passepartout, n. – ‘ Originally: †a person who may go anywhere (obs.). Subsequently: a thing giving a person the right or opportunity to go anywhere; spec. a key that opens any or many doors, a master key; (occas.) a passport. Freq. in extended use and fig.’

Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈpaspɑːtuː/, /ˈpaspətuː/, /ˌpaspɑːˈtuː/, /ˌpaspəˈtuː/, U.S. /ˌpɑspɑrˈtu/
Forms: 16 paspartout, 16–17 passepartout, 17 passpartout, 17– passepartout.
Etymology: < French passe-partout (1564 in Middle French in sense ‘person who may go anywhere’, 1567 in Middle French in sense ‘key that opens many doors’, 1677 in figurative use, 1690 in sense 2a, c1830 in sense 2b) < passe- (see pass- comb. form) + partout everywhere (end of the 10th cent. in Old French as per tot; < par through, by (see per prep.) + tout all: see tout adv., n.4, and adj.).
1. Originally: †a person who may go anywhere (obs.). Subsequently: a thing giving a person the right or opportunity to go anywhere; spec. a key that opens any or many doors, a master key; (occas.) a passport. Freq. in extended use and fig.
[1655 J. Howell 4th Vol. Familiar Lett. xix. 52 A travelling warrant is call'd Passeport, wheras the Original is passe par tout.]
1675 W. Wycherley Country-wife i. 6 Now may I..be in short the Pas par tout of the Town.
1680 Dryden Kind Keeper v. i. 55 With this Passe par tout, I will instantly conduct her to my own Chamber.
1700 W. Congreve Way of World iii. i. 38 Why this Wench is the Pass-par-tout, a very Master-Key to every Bodies strong Box.
1710 D. Manley Mem. Europe I. iii. 313 One of my Servants, who is gone with two of Monsieur Le Envoy's, and his passe par toute to Nova.
1749 Lady M. W. Montagu Let. to C'tess Bute 30 Nov., He opened his door with the passe-partout key.
1760 S. Foote Minor i. 23 My art, sir, is a pass-par-tout. I seldom want employment.
1826 M. Kelly Reminisc. I. iv. 71, I must say, that at the time I speak of, to be a native of Great Britain, was a passe partout all over Italy!
1833 C. MacFarlane Lives Banditti (1837) 365 Shortly after the prior went with a passe-partout, and opened the door of his cell.
1918 E. J. Dillon Eclipse of Russia x. 178 He showed them his passe-partout and they set him at liberty at once.
1987 Sunday Times 4 Oct. 64/2 The tale wields the dreamy passe-partout of extreme wealth.
2002 Sydney Morning Herald (Nexis) 23 May (News & Features section) 24 The chambermaids had passe-partouts, but when your key was in the keyhole you were assured privacy.

Word of the Week

mogigraphia, n.: [‘ Writer’s cramp.’]
Forms: 18 mogigraphia, 18 mogographia.
Etymology: < mogi- comb. form + post-classical Latin -graphia (see -graphy comb. form), perhaps after mogilalia n. Compare mogigraphy n., mogigraphic adj.
Med. Obs. rare.
Writer’s cramp.

1857 R. Dunglison Med. Lexicon (rev. ed.) 599/1 Mogigraphia, writers’ cramp.
1891 F. Taylor Man. Pract. Med. (ed. 2) 339 The disease is hence called writers’ cramp and scriveners’ palsy; graphospasm and mogigraphia have been used as technical terms.

Word of the Week

marplot, n. and adj.
[‘ A person who or (occas.) a thing which spoils a plot or hinders the success of any undertaking.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈmɑːplɒt/, U.S. /ˈmɑrˌplɑt/
Etymology: < mar- comb. form + plot n.
For a similar earlier formation as the name of a character in a play (see quot. 1709 at sense A.) compare the name of the eponymous protagonist of Sir Martin Mar-all, a play by Dryden and William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle (1668).
A. n. A person who or (occas.) a thing which spoils a plot or hinders the success of any undertaking.In early use allusively as a personification.
1709 S. Centlivre Busie Body Dram. Pers., Marplot.
1723 R. Steele (title) The censor censured; or, The conscious lovers examin’d: in a dialogue between Sir Dicky Marplot and Jack Freeman.
1765 J. Otis Vindic. Brit. Colonies 21 His employers on either side the atlantic should discard him as a meer Sir Martyn Marplot.
1795 H. Cowley Town before You v. 87 What Tippy! I’m a bit of a Marplot here… This comes of entrusting your friends by halves.
1824 CountessGranville Let. May (1894) I. 295 What a marplot anxiety is.
1876 ‘G. Eliot’ Daniel Deronda II. iv. xxxii. 321 But what is the use of my taking the vows and settling everything as it should be, if that marplot Hans comes and upsets it all?
1880 A. W. Kinglake Invasion of Crimea (ed. 4) VI. ix. 380 In future campaigns the lieges shall not be the marplots they were in the days of Lord Raglan.
1915 F. T. Woodington (title) Fate the marplot.
1940 Amer. Hist. Rev. 45 343 Colonel Nicholas was a meddler and a marplot with a genius for intrigue.
1978 Economist (Nexis) 25 Nov. 123 Following in the footsteps of such marplots, Marxists, Maoists or malignants as the Lords Robbins and Bridges.
1982 Time (Nexis) 27 Dec. 12 Donald Nickles of Oklahoma and Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire..teamed with veteran marplot Jesse Helms of North Carolina to filibuster the measure to death’s door.

†B. adj. (attrib.).
That spoils or defeats a plot or hinders an undertaking. Obs.1824 Lancet 10 Apr. 64/1 He casts a scowling glance upon the incorrigible mar-plot man.
1850 in A. W. Kinglake Invasion of Crimea (1877) VI. ix. 230 There were some of his fellow-countrymen..whose marplot disclosures seemed likely to bring down..a new onslaught of Russian masses.
1869 A. J. Evans Vashti xxviii. 392 Beyond the tender mercies of meddling, marplot fortune.

Word of the Week

qui vive, n.

[‘ on (also upon) the qui vive: on the alert; on the lookout.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌkiː ˈviːv/, U.S. /ˌki ˈviv/
Forms: 17– qui vive, 19– key veev Irish English.
Etymology: < French qui vive, qui-vive, noun (1626) < qui vive?, lit. ‘who should live?’, i.e. ‘(long) live who?’ (1470 in Middle French) a sentinel’s challenge, intended to discover to which party the person challenged belongs (with an expected answer of the form vive le roi(long) live the king, vive la France (long) live France, etc.) < qui who (see who pron.) + vive, 3rd singular present subjunctive of vivre (seevivers n.). Compare post-classical Latin qui vivat? (1419 in a French source, or earlier).With on the qui vive compare French sur le qui vive (1690).
N.E.D. (1902) gives the non-naturalized pronunciation (kī vīv) /ki viv/.

1. on (also upon) the qui vive: on the alert; on the lookout.1726 Swift Let. 15 Oct. (2003) III. 35 Is it imagined that I must be..Alway upon the qui vive and the Slip Slop.
1752 H. Fielding Amelia II. v. vii. 141 Though he be a little too much on the Qui vive, he is a Man of great Honour.
1834 F. Marryat Peter Simple III. xiv. 181 This put us all on the qui vive.
1883 E. P. Roe in Harper’s Mag. Dec. 56/1 ‘What now, Webb?’ cried Burtis, all on the qui vive.
1933 B. Gadelius Human Mentality vii. 163 His senses are always on the qui-vive.
1980 V. S. Pritchett Tale Bearers 85 Greene is always on the qui vive for the ironies of impotence and desire.
2002 A. Caulfield Show me Magic xiv. 287, I love big dangerous cities, always having to be on the qui vive.

2. Chiefly in France or in French-speaking contexts: a cry of ‘qui vive’, typically used as a challenge by a sentry. Cf. go v.. Now rare.1740 tr. G. Alderfeld Mil. Hist. Charles XII. III. 158 Upon which having demanded the quivive with his pistol in his hand, and receiving no answer, [he] returned..to look for his Majesty.
1820 A. J. Kempre tr. E. O. I. Odeleben Campaign in Saxony II. v. 322 The wonted stillness of night was now only interrupted by..the qui vive? of the sentinels.
1903 B. Carman Poems II. 110 From behind the tall door that swings outward, replies no patrol To our restless Qui vive?

Word of the Week



verb tr., intr.: To deceive or swindle, especially by flattery.

Perhaps from honey + fugle (to cheat). Earliest documented use: 1829. Also spelled as honeyfugle.

“Don’t try to honeyfuggle me, Wolf McCloud. I’m not pretty, and we both know it.”
Jane Bonander; Wild Heart; Pocket Books; 1995.