I want to defuse (the use of) diffuse in its place before it diffuses.
Here are the top three guilty words/phrases:
1. Wait, what?
2. No worries
3. At the end of the day
Go to the Lake Superior State University website for the rest of the top ten.
Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary site has a tool that you can use to find out which words were first used in print in the year you were born. Of course, you can use it to find out which words were first used in print in any year you choose. It doesn’t have to be your birth year. It could be the birth year of your cat, for all they care. Let’s try 1905, the year Albert Einstein published his paper on the photoelectric effect. He got the Nobel prize in Physics for that in 1921. One of the words for 1905 is pinspotter, which is another word for pinsetter — an employee or a mechanical device that spots pins in a bowling alley. I was a pinsetter in my youth. Small world, eh?
Let’s try another year. How about 1955, when the world population was 2,755,823,000? Also the year Albert Einstein died, sadly. And the word is: weirdo — a person who is extraordinarily strange or eccentric. I don’t think I’m a person who is extraordinarily strange or eccentric, but I might qualify as a quasi-weirdo.
One more. Let’s go with 2005, when the first ever YouTube video was uploaded. The word: sexting — the sending of sexually explicit messages or images by cell phone. Not something I’ve ever done. Count yourself lucky.
Go ahead. Go to the site and try some years. The time you waste will be your own.
PS That YouTube video from 2005? It was called Me at the Zoo. Eighteen seconds of transcendental wisdom.
I wasn’t sure how to kick off this post, so I’ve been skirting the problem. Now I’ve decided to stop beating around the bush and take the bull by the horns. The objective is to get to the bottom of things without going over the top. I hope I don’t get run down trying to run down the rundown so I can run it up the flagpole and run it by you.
An idiom, according to my Concise Oxford Dictionary, Eighth edition 1990, is “a group of words established by usage and having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words.” In other words, a phrase that doesn’t make sense in its current usage. Their examples are, “over the moon” and “see the light.” An idiom is also “a form of expression peculiar to a language, person or group of people.” So to speak in the idiom is to use forms of speech that are particular to the speaker’s in-group. Idioms are the bane of anyone trying to learn a language. Imagine trying to learn English and someone says, “Here, let me show you the ropes.” Yes, “idiom” does come from the same place as “idiot.”
I have to admit that would be a tough row to hoe. Maybe I should have left well enough alone, but the cat’s out of the bag now, so it’s a little late to close the barn door. The horses have flown the coop. Wait, is that a mixed idiom? Was I champing at the bit in my teeth, causing me to overshoot the mark? That can’t be helped, I’m afraid. Any attempt at tamping this down is a day late and a dollar short. We’ve rounded the last turn. We’re on the final stretch. There’s no turning back because we’re down to the short strokes. The die is cast and our fate has been cast to the wind. This post is done and it’s time to play the last post for it.
Catch you on the round-a-bout,
Grammar of the Day – Bring and Take
I imagine this conversation in front of a restaurant where two people have just had lunch and they’re getting on with the rest of the workday:
Person One, handing Person Two a file folder: “Bring this to the office. I’m going to meet a client.”
Person Two: “Do you mean you want me to bring it to you at the office when I come in tomorrow?”
Person One: “No. I want you to bring it to the office now.”
Person Two is confused because Person One is going to meet a client and won’t be at the office to bring it to. Then their face lights up as they get it. “Oh! You mean TAKE it to the office.”
Person One, frowning: “That’s what I said.”
Some English language users use the word “bring” where the rest of us would use the word “take.” Most of us speak with the sense that things are brought here and taken there. “Please bring the coffee here, to this table.” “Please take the coffee there, to that table.” But some people use “bring” in both cases. (Is anyone else beginning to think that “bring” sounds funny?) To us, that usage just sounds wrong, while to them it’s perfectly natural. I’ll bet they can’t even see why it would be a problem. The truth is, I can see their reasoning. When they are taking the coffee to that table, they are going there and bringing the coffee with them. When looked at in that light, from the point of view of the destination rather than from where the statement is made, the concept of bringing becomes synonymous with taking. Therefore, the people making that mistake have no compelling reason to change, nor to even see that anything is wrong.
This grammatical error is probably permanent.