moxie, n: spirit, courage. From Moxie, an American soft drink marketed in the late 1800's. In the Dec. 20, 1930 edition of Collier's: “Personally, I always figure Louie a petty-larceny kind of guy, with no more moxie than a canary bird.”Example from the news: Richmond Times-Dispatch, Feb. 15, ... Continue reading
Here I explore my love of the English language, and especially its quirkiness.
filibuster, n: a procedure used in a legislative body to obstruct the passage of a bill. From the Feb. 11, 1890 US Congressional Record: "A filibuster was indulged in which lasted... for nine continuous calendar days."Filibuster probably comes from the Dutch word vrijbuiter, literally ... Continue reading
cronyism: to appoint someone to a position of power chiefly because of their friendship.17 Aug 1952 NY Times: "The amount of politically entrenched bureaucracy that has earned for Mr. Truman's regime its sorry reputation for corruption, cronyism, extravagance, waste and confusion..." (The NY ... Continue reading
tenterhooks, (n): metal hooks used by tent-makers to stretch and hold cloth while making a tent.to be on tenterhooks: (expresssion) to be held in a state of painful suspense or impatience. The OED finds the earliest use of this expression in Tobias Smollett's 1748 work The Adventures of Roderick ... Continue reading
quagmire: 1) A boggy, marshy area that cannot support foot traffic. 2) A situation from which extrication is difficult. The OED finds the earliest example of the second sense in Richard Brinsley Sheridan's 1775 work The Rivals: "I have followed Cupid's Jack-a-lantern, and find myself in a quagmire ... Continue reading