Posted by: Jack Henry | August 23, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Idioms from RF

I’m taking a break from the days of the week.

Today’s Editor’s Corner is dedicated to Ron Fauset, who asked me about these idioms some time ago. He managed to fit all of them into one email, but here they are split out, along with their definitions and where I found them. Enjoy!

Get to the point (The Free Dictionary)

To reach the most important or crucial part of something.

To speak plainly; to address the main issue. This expression, which in British parlance is usually phrased come to the point, dates from Chaucer’s time. Chaucer himself wrote in the “Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales, “This is the poynt, to speken short and pleyn.”

Fit to a T (Daily Writing Tips)

The expression “to a T,” as in “That suits you to a T!” is often mistakenly written or said as “to the T” (or “to a tee” or “to the tee”).

But what, exactly, is a “T”? None of the various proposed origins of “to a T” is definitive, but only one makes any sense. The opinion that it refers to how well a T-shirt fits is nonsensical: The term for a collarless, short-sleeved shirt is less than a hundred years old, and the expression dates to the late 1600s.

That also disqualifies the more plausible theory that it alludes to the precision a T square, the T-shaped drafting tool, enables; the first attested use in print of the tool’s name postdates the first use of the phrase by nearly a century. And it has nothing to do with the golf implement known as the tee, which has always been spelled as such (though the spelling error “to a tee” goes back hundreds of years).

Most likely, the phrase is descended from the expression “to a tittle.” A tittle is a small mark used in orthographic details, such as the dot over an i or a j or a diacritical mark such as an accent mark, and the sense is “to the smallest detail.”

(See more on the tittle here at Editor’s Corner: Title, Tilde, and Tittle.)

The long and the short of it (Merriam-Webster)

Used when making a statement that is brief and that tells someone only the most important parts of something.

Example from Phrases.org (British, with the long and short reversed)

The short and long of it is the substance; the plain truth. It is used to refer to something which is unambiguous and may be described quite simply—the long version and the short version being the same. For example, "You can debate the 1971 Ali/Frazier fight all you like but the long and short of it is, Frazier won.”

get short with (The Free Dictionary)

To speak or react to one in a curt or abrupt manner.

Ron gave me one more thing to research: short shrift. I’m saving that for an article of its own.

Hmm, what’s up with all of the “short” idioms?

I hope you all have a good day!

Kara Church | Technical Editor, Advisory | Technical Publications

Pronouns: she/her | (619) 542-6773 | jackhenry.com

Editing Requests

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Posted by: Jack Henry | August 18, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Tiu’s Day

Hello! I’m back with the next day of the week in our series: Tuesday. For the rest of the days, I’ll just put my handy-dandy chart with all of the translations at the end of each email. In today’s chart, I swapped Greek for Ancient Greek, and I added a column for Roman, since our history gets into the changes of the seven-day calendar. I removed Portuguese because it’s current days don’t follow the pattern of the other romance languages.

As we learned in previous blogs, the seven-day calendar started with the Babylonians. The ancient Greeks adopted that calendar, and then the Romans came along. All three groups started their weeks with Sunday (the day of the sun) and Monday (the day of the moon), but this is where they diverged. Having seven days total, the Babylonians decided to name the other five days after the five planets they could see from earth: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

The ancient Greeks came along later (around the 12th Century BC) and named the extra five days after five of their gods:

  • Tuesday: Ares, the god of war
  • Wednesday: Hermes, the messenger god, trickster, and god of commerce
  • Thursday: Zeus, the god of the sky, thunder, and king of the other gods, oh yes—and king of people
  • Friday: Aphrodite, the goddess of love
  • Saturday: Kronos, the son of the creators of the universe; father of time

As the Roman Empire emerged in the First Century BC, they also adopted the seven-day calendar and like the Greeks, they named the five additional days of the week after their own gods.

  • Tuesday: Martis, god of war
  • Wednesday: Mercurii, messenger god
  • Thursday: Jovis (Jove, Jupiter), god of sky, thunder, etc.
  • Friday: Veneris (Venus), goddess of love
  • Saturday: The Romans moved away from the Greeks here and “named Saturday after Saturn, father of Jupiter, god of agriculture, and namesake to the Saturnalia festival, a celebration in which masters and slaves traded places for a few wonderful days.” (Grammar Girl)

Now, for a little history of the word Tuesday itself, from Dictionary.com:

The first records of the word Tuesday come from before 1050. It comes from the Middle English tewesday, from the Old English Tīwes daeg, meaning “Tiu‘s day.” This is a translation of (or is modeled on) the Latin term diēs Mārtis, meaning “Mars’s day.” In Old English, the Roman god of war Mars was subbed out in favor of Tiu, the war god of Anglo-Saxon mythology (equivalent to the Norse god Tyr).

Tuesday is usually thought to be much less exciting than you might expect it to be for a day named after a god of war. Except of course for the most anticipated of all days: Taco Tuesday.

In years of U.S. presidential elections, many states hold the primary vote on the same day in March (or sometimes February), known as Super Tuesday.

In U.S. history, Tuesday, October 29, 1929, is known as Black Tuesday, the day of a stock market crash that is often thought of as the start of the Great Depression.

Hopefully, you can start to see how the days of the week have evolved, and romance languages of today still maintain their history from Rome (or Latin).

English Ancient Greek Roman Spanish French Italian Romanian
Sunday Day of the sun

(hemera helio)

Day of the sun

(dies Solis)

Domingo Dimanche Domenica Duminică
Monday Day of the moon

(hemera selenes)

Day of the moon

(dies Lunae)

Lunes Lundi Lunedi Luni
Tuesday Ares, war god Martis, war god Martes Mardi Martedì Marţi
Wednesday Hermes, messenger god Mercurii, messenger god Miércoles Mercredi Mercoledì Miercuri
Thursday Zeus, god of sky/thunder Jovis (Jove/Jupiter), sky and thunder god Jueves Jeudi Giovedì Joi
Friday Aphrodite, love goddess Veneris (Venus), love goddess Viernes Vendredit Venerdì Vineri
Saturday
Kronos, time god
Saturn, father of Jupiter Sábado Samedi Sabato Sâmbătă

Kara Church | Technical Editor, Advisory | Technical Publications

Pronouns: she/her | (619) 542-6773 | jackhenry.com

Editor’s Corner Archives: https://episystechpubs.com/

Posted by: Jack Henry | August 16, 2022

Editor’s Corner: I Don’t Like Mondays

Good morning, all!

Today I’m going to cover the day of the week Monday. During my last email, I made a chart for all of us to have a look at the names of the week in English, Greek, and the top five Romance languages. Here it is as a reminder:

English Greek Spanish French Italian Romanian Portuguese
Sunday Κυριακή

Kyriakí

Domingo Dimanche Domenica Duminică Domingo
Monday Δευτέρα

Deftéra

Lunes Lundi Lunedi Luni Segunda-Feira
Tuesday Τρίτη

Tríti

Martes Mardi Martedì Marţi Terça-Feira
Wednesday
Τετάρτη
Tetárti
Miércoles Mercredi Mercoledì Miercuri Quarta-Feira
Thursday
Πέμπτη
Pémpti
Jueves Jeudi Giovedì Joi Quinta-Feira
Friday
Παρασκευή
Paraskeví
Viernes Vendredit Venerdì Vineri Sexta-Feira
Saturday
Σάββατο
Sávvato
Sábado Samedi Sabato Sâmbătă Sábado

While Sunday was named after the sun (and later renamed in romance languages and Greek to refer to “The Lord’s Day,”) Monday was named after the moon, and despite Christianity, has maintained its name “moon’s day” in all languages on our list, except Greek and Portuguese. Some additional details from Dictionary.com:

The English name for Monday comes from the Anglo-Saxon word Mōnandæg, which loosely means “the moon’s day.” Mōna is the word for moon in Old English.

The second day of the week has been classified as the moon’s day since Babylonian times. The Babylonians were the ones who decided on a seven-day week, and they named five of the days for planets, and one each for the sun and for the moon.

Ancient Romans followed the same pattern, though they technically thought they were naming every day after a planet, since the Romans thought that the sun and moon were planets in their own right. For the Romans, every planet had an associated god or goddess, and Luna was the goddess that personified the moon.

You can see the Ancient Roman influence in the name for Monday in Latin (dies lunae, or “day of the moon”) and the romance languages [KC – See the table above.]

Germanic and Nordic-speaking people took after the Romans when it came to days of the week, but they changed the names to match their own planetary gods. In Norse mythology, the moon was guided by the god Mani, who pulled the moon across the sky via chariot after his sister, the goddess Sol, pulled the sun across the sky.

While the ancient Greek translated term for Monday was also “day of the moon”, it was later changed to mean essentially, “second day of the week.” The Portuguese similarly skip the day of the moon, and their day is translated as the “second ‘rest day’ of the week.”

Because it is the beginning of our work week (not a “rest day”) I think Monday gets a bad rap. I can think of several songs about it, but when I looked them up, I found even more than expected. Here are just a few:

  • Manic Monday
  • Rainy Days and Mondays
  • I Don’t Like Mondays
  • Blue Monday
  • Call it Stormy Monday
  • Rainy Monday
  • Blue Monday
  • Gloomy Monday Morning

I hope you have a better day than those songwriters!

Kara Church | Technical Editor, Advisory | Technical Publications

Pronouns: she/her | (619) 542-6773 | jackhenry.com

Editor’s Corner Archives: https://episystechpubs.com/

Posted by: Jack Henry | August 11, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Borrowed Sanskrit Words

Good morning!

Kara and I often share English words that come to us from other languages, but I don’ t think either one of us has ever shared a list of words that are derived from the ancient Sanskrit language, so today’s the day!

I was astonished at how many of these words we use on a regular basis! The following information, which includes only a partial list of words, comes from Dictionary.com. Granted, some words like yoga and karma, were not surprising (so I left them off the list), but others definitely did surprise me.

Sanskrit is an ancient language that dates back to the Bronze Age. It is the language at the root of many languages of the Indian subcontinent, including Hindi, and it is used in ancient literary texts and sacred texts of the Hindu and Buddhist religions, particularly the Vedas. The holy and poetic nature of the language is hinted at in the meaning and origin of the word Sanskrit itself. It comes from the Sanskrit saṃskṛta, meaning “adorned, perfected.”

· juggernaut
Juggernaut is used colloquially to mean “any large, overpowering, destructive force or object, as war, a giant battleship, or a powerful football team.” However, the word literally designates a giant, decorated cart bearing an idol of the Hindu god Krishna that is used in processions at the temple Puri in Odisha, India. In fact, the word juggernaut comes from the Sanskrit Jagannātha- “lord of the world” (i.e., the god Vishnu or Krishna).

· zen
Another word that ultimately comes from Sanskrit and is connected to Buddhist beliefs is zen, which has a variety of meanings including “a state of meditative calm in which one uses direct, intuitive insights as a way of thinking and acting.” It is colloquially used in the sense of “relaxed and calmly accepting of a situation.” The word zen comes from the Sanskrit dhyāna, from the verb dhyāti “he meditates” (i.e., “sees mentally”). As you may have guessed from the origins of the word, Zen Buddhism, a sect of Buddhism that originated in China, involves a lot of meditation.

· orange
In addition to religious terminology, there are some everyday words that come from Sanskrit. Some of these might surprise you. One such word is orange, which can refer both to the citrus fruit and the color. The word orange ultimately comes from the Sanskrit nāraṅga. You can clearly see the Sanskrit origins of this word in the Spanish word for orange, naranja.

· mandarin
Another citrusy term that comes from Sanskrit is mandarin, the small orange citrus fruits that are native to China. Mandarin, especially when capitalized, can also refer to the high-ranking public officials in the Chinese Empire. In fact, the word mandarin comes from the Sanskrit mantrin, meaning “councilor.” The fruit came to share a name with these high-ranking officials because it was thought they were the same color as the yellow sink robes the Mandarins wore.

· punch
A tasty, sweet drink whose name comes from Sanskrit is punch, “a beverage consisting of wine or spirits mixed with fruit juice, soda, water, milk, or the like, and flavored with sugar, spices, etc.” (Sometimes punch is made without booze as well.) The word punch comes from the Sanskrit for “five,” a reference to the five ingredients used to make traditional punch: alcohol, sugar, lemon or lime juice, water, and spices.

· candy
Another sweet treat whose name comes from Sanskrit is candy, “any of a variety of confections made with sugar, syrup, etc., often combined with chocolate, fruit, nuts, etc.” The word comes from the Sanskrit khaṇḍakaḥ, meaning “sugar candy.” In Sanskrit khanda means “piece,” so the word literally refers to “sugar in [crystalline] pieces.”

· loot
The wordloot can be both a noun and a verb. As a noun, it means “spoils or plunder taken by pillaging, as in war.” As a verb, it means “to carry off or take (something) as loot.” You might be familiar with this word already, but you may not know that it ultimately comes from the Sanskrit lōtra or lōptra, meaning “to rob, plunder.”

Next time I chomp on some orange candy or gulp down some punch, I’ll know whom to thank for it.

Donna Bradley Burcher |Technical Editor, Advisory | jack henry™

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123

Pronouns she/her/hers

About Editor’s Corner

Editor’s Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other people’s writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while we’re doing it.

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Posted by: Jack Henry | August 9, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Sunday

You know me, I don’t just love English, I love a lot of different languages! One of the things I have always been interested in, since studying some Spanish, French, and learning a little Greek, is days of the week. If you look at the top five romance languages—Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian—the names of the week are so similar to each other, but not so similar to English.

Here’s a little chart I put together (plus English and Greek because of my personal fondness):

English Greek Spanish French Italian Romanian Portuguese
Sunday Κυριακή

Kyriakí

Domingo Dimanche Domenica Duminică Domingo
Monday Δευτέρα

Deftéra

Lunes Lundi Lunedi Luni Segunda-Feira
Tuesday Τρίτη

Tríti

Martes Mardi Martedì Marţi Terça-Feira
Wednesday
Τετάρτη
Tetárti
Miércoles Mercredi Mercoledì Miercuri Quarta-Feira
Thursday
Πέμπτη
Pémpti
Jueves Jeudi Giovedì Joi Quinta-Feira
Friday
Παρασκευή
Paraskeví
Viernes Vendredit Venerdì Vineri Sexta-Feira
Saturday
Σάββατο
Sávvato
Sábado Samedi Sabato Sâmbătă Sábado

When comparing the translations above, you can see that most of the Romance words for the days of the week are similar. And while Greek isn’t a Romance language, I recognized something that is similar between it and Portuguese. In Greek, the names of the days of the week after Sunday are translated as “second,” “third,” “fourth,” and “fifth”; the Portuguese days (after Sunday) are also “second,” “third,” “fourth,” “fifth,” and “sixth.” The word feira in Portuguese refers to “rest days,” compared to Saturday and Sunday, the holy days.

Okay, enough of my curiosity, let’s see what the days and languages have in common, and where we diverge from each of them. Today I’ll start with Sunday, and over the next few weeks we’ll have a look at the other days and their histories. The following information is from Dictionary.com.

The first records of the word Sunday come from before 900. It comes from the Middle English sun(nen)day, from the Old English sunnandæg. This is a translation of the Latin diēs sōlis, which itself is a translation of Greek hēméra hēlíou, “day of the Sun.”

Sunday is named after the sun thanks to the ancient Babylonians. The Babylonian civilization is the first one known to use a seven-day week. They named each of the seven days after planets and other celestial bodies. The two most visible ones got top billing, with the day we call Sunday being named after the sun and the day after—what we call Monday—being named after the moon. When the Romans adopted this model of naming the days for celestial bodies, they used their term for the sun, sōlis.

In Christianity, Sunday is a day of rest and worship—the Christian Sabbath day.

The expressiona month of Sundays is an exaggerated way of saying a very long time.

So, in English we stick with ancient Babylonians and Greeks to talk about this day of the week, in honor of the sun. In modern Greek, Sunday Κυριακή (pronounced Kyriakí), translates as “The Lord’s Day.” In the Romance languages, you’ll see that their words for Sunday are also based on god: Domingo, Dimanche, Domenica, Duminică, and again Domingo are from the Latin word Dominus, which means god, lord, and master.

Kara Church | Technical Editor, Advisory | Technical Publications

Pronouns: she/her | (619) 542-6773 | jackhenry.com

Editor’s Corner Archives: https://episystechpubs.com/

Posted by: Jack Henry | August 4, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Older

Good morning, folks!

We have touched a little on “ageist” language (OK, Boomer), but there is a lot more out there. In one of my emails to y’all, I used the word “grandma” in a way that offended some (including my own mom), so I wanted to find out more about ageist terms and avoid any more faux pas in the future.

Before I get started, though, I want to review what ageism is. It is bias or discrimination against a person because they belong to a particular generation or age group. It is not simply against older adults; it applies to intolerance for anyone based on their age. Today, I’m concentrating on ageism toward older people and how we can “use our words” to be more kind.

According to an article I read (How to Challenge Ageist Language), older people’s “functional health can worsen over time as a result of insults and negative images. In contrast, those with positive perceptions of aging live longer.” That means that with a little effort, we can help more seasoned individuals “live long and prosper.”

Let’s have a look at some of the good, the bad, and the ugly. (The following information is from an AARP article, “Who You Calling ‘Young Lady?’” I cut some things out, but you can see the full article using that link.)

Cool

“Older” — interesting how that little “er” qualifier makes the adjective “old” sound inoffensive. After all, everyone is older than someone.

“Experienced" — They may not know HTML or Snapchat, but an older person is unquestionably more experienced at staying alive on this increasingly insane planet. Just think: People older than you knew how to get across town without a GPS. That’s how experienced they are.

“Wise” — Certainly, this word doesn’t apply to everyone. But for the right individual, this is a classy way to hint at age while also honoring intellect. A respectful, slight bow of the head is a nice added touch.

“Seasoned” — This adjective hints that one has not only lived through many summers and winters, but also has been well rubbed with the spice of life on their journey. It indicates a human with a complex flavor profile.

“Sage” or “wizard” — If you have lived past 45, are a halfway decent person and not cruel or mean, then yes, you are magical.

“Mature” — This implies advanced emotional development and is an acceptable term as long as you don’t pronounce it with a hard T, as in “Ma-TOUR.” Then, it just sounds like Madonna trying to do Shakespeare. Please don’t make us think about that!

“Perennial” — Somehow, describing people as plants feels respectable. Evokes images of thick leaves and fleshy blossoms. Like many older people, perennials possess the two most-coveted qualities in plant or animal — they are gorgeous and hard to kill.

“Ageless” — The Isabella Rossellini of appellations. The ageless person perpetually exists in a liminal state where time is irrelevant. Please call us this.

Not Cool

“Young” (used playfully) — An infantilizing attempt at jocularity by someone actually young. Example: A waiter greets a table of septuagenarians with “How are you YOUNG ladies doing today?” Not good. You may be too young to know this, but there is nothing wrong with not being young. Now refill our decaf coffees!

“Of a certain age”Oooh, mysterious! Spooky! A number so scary that it can’t be said out loud, lest it conjure evil spirits.

“Elderly” — Let’s reserve this word for the over-95 set, please.

“Adorable” — Puppies are adorable. We’re adults. The fact that we are interesting or funny does not render us infantile. Save this word for baby goats. You can also feed them “sweetie,” “honey” and “dear.”

“Over the hill” — Kid, no one knows what “the hill” is or what side of it any of us is on. Kindly reserve this term to estimate your location when we are a half mile ahead of you on a hike or in an intellectual conversation.

Just Plain Mean

“Grandma” or “Grandpa” — Don’t use such nicknames for people whose reproductive history you do not know. Also, lots more grandmothers don’t want to be called “Grandma” anymore. Trending now: Glam-ma, Mimi, even Nana. (It should go without saying that “Granny” is worst of all.)

“Geriatric” — Anything that references hospitals or medical facilities should be avoided. People aren’t decaying in front of you.

“Old Coot” — What is a coot? Is it an insect? A toothy rodent? A weird skin growth? Do you even know what you’re calling us? Fun fact: A coot is a tough, adaptable water bird. They can fly and swim. Can you?

I hope this has opened your eyes a little to alternatives to “senior citizens” and “old people” and maybe given you a laugh in the process.

If you younger folks are feeling left out, email me and let me know what terms make you feel uncomfortable, unappreciated, or insulted because of your age!

Kara Church | Technical Editor, Advisory | Technical Publications

Pronouns: she/her | (619) 542-6773 | jackhenry.com

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Posted by: Jack Henry | August 2, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Plurale Tantum

The other day I taunted you with the term pluralia tantum to describe words like pants and trousers. Now to define the term and provide you with some common examples outside of the clothes you wear on your legs. Plurale tantum is Latin for “plural only,” which describes nouns that are used only in the plural form. Since we’re talking about more than one noun, that translated to pluralia tantum (rather than plurale tantums).

The following selections are from an article by Grammar Girl.

Scissors

The first known uses of the word "scissors" are actually singular—spelled in a variety of ways, including starting with "cy." That was in the 15th century, and the plural version quickly overtook the former in popularity. While you’d still hear "scissor" as a verb, or to form a compound noun like "scissor kick," you’re unlikely to come across a single scissor. The same is true of many other two-bladed tools – like "pliers," "forceps," "shears," "tweezers" and "tongs."

Glasses

When we’re talking about eyewear, the word "glasses" is like "spectacles," "goggles," or "binoculars": today, you’ll only hear them used as plurals. Things get a bit more complex if you pop "a pair of" in front of the words. The "a" suggests you should treat "a pair of glasses" as singular, but research shows that you’re equally likely to come across "a pair of glasses are" as "a pair of glasses is."

Clothes

Sticking with the world of attire, we speak of "clothes" but never of a single "clothe." "Clothe" exists as a verb, and "cloth" is a common singular noun—but isn’t used to mean "a garment." Not anymore, at least. In the late-14th century, "cloth" was indeed used to mean a single garment. You’ll find that in "Piers Plowman" and the works of Chaucer. Nowadays, you’d have to use "an article of clothing" to get the same meaning.

Shenanigans

A plurale tantum doesn’t have to be a tangible object. Another example is the word "shenanigans." It means "secret or dishonest activity or maneuvering," or "silly or high-spirited behavior," but its etymological origins aren’t clear. What is known is that its earliest known use, in a mid-19th century article, is in the singular "shenanigan." The singular was in use for another hundred years, but in recent decades, you’ll only find the plural "shenanigans."

Odds

What are the odds? Whether you’re talking about gambling, chance, or an argument where you’re "at odds" with someone else, you won’t get a single "odd." As you might expect, this plurale tantum comes from the adjective "odd," originally with the idea of "unequal things." This broadened into various ideas of difference—particularly in likelihood and probability.

Thanks

Finally, thanks for reading – and, yes, "thanks" is the final plurale tantum. You’d find "thank" in the words "thank you," of course, but you wouldn’t give someone a single "thank." Unless, that is, you were in Ancient Britain and used the Old English "thanc," ending in a "c," from which the modern word derived.

I was so happy to find this term to describe things like scissors and other words that always appear as plurals. May you be lucky and have it appear in your near future while doing a crossword puzzle or hanging out at the bar for trivia night!

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

Editor’s Corner Archives: https://episystechpubs.com/

Posted by: Jack Henry | July 28, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Two Old-Fashioned Terms

Good morning!

In an email conversation with Susan R., I used two old-fashioned terms that made me curious, so I thought I’d dig a little deeper into both of them. That makes today “Where did that term come from?” Thursday.

The first term I used was old fogey (I accused myself of sounding like one). I’ve certainly used the term before, but as I started researching, I realized I wasn’t even sure how to spell it, so I don’t think I’ve ever actually written or typed it. But where did it come from? Well, we all know what old means, so let’s move on to fogey. The Online Etymology Dictionary provides this information:

fogey (n.)

also fogy, "an old, dull fellow," 1780, Scottish foggie, originally "army pensioner or veteran," perhaps connected to fogram (1772) "old-fashioned," also "old-fashioned person;" or from fog (n.2) in an obsolete senses of "moss," or from foggy "bloated, fat" (1520s), which perhaps is an extended sense of fog (n.2). Related: Fogeydom; fogeyish; fogeyism.

So, as it’s currently used, the word means exactly what we all probably guessed. When we call a person an old fogey, we mean that they an old, dull, out-of-touch individual. However, it’s interesting to know that it’s originally a Scottish phrase, that it didn’t start off with a negative connotation, and that it’s been around since the 18th century.

The other term I used was not one whit. I know that the saying means “not at all; not even a little bit.” But what does the word whit mean? I was already searching the Online Etymology Dictionary, so I typed in “whit” and got this information:

whit (n.)

"smallest particle," 1520s, from na whit "no amount" (c. 1200), from Old English nan wiht, from wiht "amount," originally "person, human being" (see wight).

Well that’s interesting! That’s a very old word. I’ve also heard the even stuffier phrase “It matters not one whit.” I’m definitely going to force that into a conversation (as I adjust my spectacle).

The Collins English Dictionary has this to say about whit:

You say not a whit or not one whit to emphasize that something is not the case at all. [mainly formal, or old-fashioned, emphasis]

He cared not a whit for the social, political, or moral aspects of literature.

Like fogey, the word whit is an old-fashioned word but that doesn’t mean we should stop using it. Old words, new words, big words, little words, what a lot of words we can choose from. Spice it up, my friends!

Donna Bradley Burcher |Technical Editor, Advisory | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

Pronouns she/her/hers

About Editor’s Corner

Editor’s Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other people’s writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while we’re doing it.

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Posted by: Jack Henry | July 26, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Pants

Funny things happen with Editor’s Corner. I never know what kind of response a topic will generate, for example, the term skinny-dipping a couple of weeks ago brought up a discussion of pants. What kind of pants? All kinds of pants! Who knew we had so many terms for underwear and pants styles?

I started out with the undergarments, but I realized I was getting into dangerous territory with the definitions and pictures, so I’m just going to give you the list, minus some of the naughtier terms:

  • bloomers
  • boxers
  • briefs
  • drawers
  • knickers
  • pantaloons
  • skivvies
  • underpants

Now for trousers! You will notice that there are some words we use interchangeably (trousers, pants, and slacks) and their definitions only vary slightly, as do the pictures I found.

breeches:short trousers for covering the hips and thighs that fit snugly around the waist at the top and at the lower edges at or just below the knee (also called knee breeches).

Capris: close-fitting pants that have tapered legs often with a slit on the outside of the leg bottom, extend almost to the ankle, and are used usually for informal wear especially by women.

clamdiggers: pants that reach below the knee or mid-calf [KC – Similar to Capris, but usually a little shorter.].

culottes: a divided skirt also : a garment having a divided skirt [KC – And the first definition?
Hair on the thighs of an animal (as a Pomeranian dog).]

gauchos: wide, calf-length trousers for men or women modeled after the trousers worn by South American gauchos (cowboys).

jeans: hard-wearing trousers made of denim or other cotton fabric, for informal wear.

jodhpur breeches:pants for horseback riding cut full through the hips, close-fitting from knee to ankle, and usually having a strap under the foot.

pants: an outer garment covering each leg separately and usually extending from the waist to the ankle.

short pants: trousers that end at or above the knee.

shorts: knee-length or less than knee-length trousers made in various styles for informal wear or sportswear.

slacks: long pants for casual wear often of a looser cut than suit trousers and with pleats at the waist.

trousers: an outer garment extending from the waist to the ankle or sometimes only to or just below the knee, covering each leg separately, and made close-fitting or loose-fitting in accord with the fashion of different periods; baggy pantaloons worn by both sexes in the Near East.

One other interesting thing about pants, trousers, jodhpurs, breeches, etc. is that these terms are also pluralia tantum, which you will find out more about in my next Editor’s Corner.

Until then, have a great Tuesday!

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

Editor’s Corner Archives: https://episystechpubs.com/

Posted by: Jack Henry | July 21, 2022

Editor’s Corner: The Final Limericks

Happy Thursday!

Here are the remaining limericks sent in for the contest. Remember, winners were picked randomly, so you’re all still number one in my book! The winning limericks are here if you didn’t have a chance to read them.

Thank you all for participating!

Katelyn Parker (daughter of Courtney Parker)

Dogs, dogs they are the best,

Even better than the rest.

There are many different breeds,

All do good deeds.

This, I can attest. 😊

Stephanie Hrnack

Southwest Airlines FCU

There once was a lady from Dallas,

Who thought she lived in a palace.

Also living in the house

Was a roach and a mouse,

Which affected its pristine status.

Renee Reed-Curl

We moved to a town named Shell Knob

Where they don’t care if you dress like a slob

Lake life is fun

But don’t get too much sun

Or you just might turn into a blob

I watched the fireworks light up the sky

I was amazed at how high they could fly

They were so bright

I forgot it was night

Until they floated down to die

Brent Jones

[KC – Brent, I loved the Game of Thrones limerick, but I had to cut it out because of the subject matter.]

There once was a guy named Han Solo
Whose morals were rumored to go low
Gave Greedo a burst
Without question shot first
As he strode from the bar he called, YOLO!

There once was a woman named Baskin

Who’s hubby’s demise was just askin’

Her tigers were hungry

She split him among three

And for years now, his death she’s been maskin’

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Editing: Symitar Documentation Services

Editor’s Corner Archives: https://episystechpubs.com/

NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
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together with any attachment, may contain confidential and/or privileged information.
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