Tag: Dictionary

A ten-dollar word worth its weight in gold

A ten-dollar word worth its weight in gold

Once in a while I like to take a break from delving into a video game or bothering you all about my life and talk about another one of my favorite things: The written word.

Unfortunately, this isn’t really an update on my Senior Honors Project. I have been working on that a bit recently, but not in any capacity to show something off.

Instead I wanted to bring back something that I haven’t really done since last summer. A ten-dollar word of the day.

Sometimes I just find a word that stands out for one reason or another, and it makes for some good filler content on a day when not a lot else has gone on.

However, today’s word isn’t quite as (from my point of view) underutilized as something like “proselytize.” In fact, you just might recognize it from my own recent lexicon.


Bonanza

Definition 1:

  1. Something that is very valuable, profitable or rewarding.
  2. A very large amount.
  3. Extravaganza.

Definition 2:

  1. An exceptionally large and rich mineral deposit (as of an ore, precious metal or petroleum while mining).

via the Merriam-Webster dictionary


Yeah that’s right, I’m pulling out that word from my post headline yesterday. Looking it up to see if it was the word I actually wanted to use was what inspired me to talk about it more, actually.

I re-ordered the list of definitions from Merriam-Webster here on my blog to put what I would consider the more common usage on top.

After all,  I personally happen to know the word “bonanza” in reference to something like an extravaganza, or simply something valuable.

But it threw me for a loop to see that the term apparently has roots in the mining industry!

Looking for some more information on that origin led me down an interesting little rabbit hole. I discovered a website called mining.com for example, which apparently covers news regarding different precious metals and their market prices. They also apparently do things like advertise mining-related novels, which is where I found the “bonanza” connection.

Another blog I found off-shooting the Collins Dictionary stipulates that the word came to be popularly used with mining successes as a result of its Spanish origin, where the term meant “calm sea” in reference to an expression of good news for sailors and fisherman.

The general “good fortune” expression wound up being used in the mining industry as well.

This all actually makes some sense considering the more modern usage of the word as being an extravagant event or a rewarding situation. It just comes off of a root that threw me off-kilter — enough to spent at least a little bit of time digging deeper.

Isn’t that the beauty of a language like English, with so many intermingling influences?

While looking for the definition of the term bonanza, I also happened to come across a totally different and interesting off-shoot of the term. One that might be a bit more recognizable for a crowd older than I am.

There was a television show that ran on NBC for nearly 15 years called “Bonanza” based on a group of cowboys tending to their ranch and the surrounding community during and after the Civil War.

This show apparently had 430 episodes, so I’m pretty surprised I’ve never heard of it! Especially considering how much of an old Hollywood fan my dad is.

The western was also popular enough to have a few continuation movies into the 80’s and 90’s according to the IMDb page on its producer, David Dortort.

So there you go! Bonanza. Parties, gold mining and cowboys. Romeo would probably be proud of just how much is in this name in particular.

You know, once he got over the fact that televisions are a thing that exist. Or electricity in general for that matter.


Featured image courtesy of Marshman via Wikimedia Commons

Temporal Contiguity

I’m trying something totally radical today. Instead of writing this post after my trip to the gym, I’m writing it while currently at the gym!

Using the treadmill, to be specific.

About 10 minutes into my run and I’m already beginning to suspect this whole split mindset is a mistake. But overall I’m very interested in killing two birds with one stone, because once I get home from the gym I’ll have to study for this quiz I’m dreading.

Somehow we’re only a week into the semester and have already covered two whole chapters in this class. No idea how the quiz is going to go because it’s uncharted territory and this is the class where I don’t feel totally confident in my notes, so…

Yeah.

Should be fun.

That’s another story, though.

This blog post isn’t necessarily meant to be about me writing it at the gym. That would probably be weird.

Instead I figured I would try to write something positive about school considering yesterday’s post was so negative.

During my Learning and Memory class this morning I learned about something really cool which put words to a thing I’ve always thought about:


Temporal Contiguity

Occurs when two stimuli are experienced close together in time and, as a result an association may be formed.


I think this just about explains itself honestly.

I’ve talked about this same subject probably countless times before, particularly concerning my nostalgia for certain games being intrinsically linked to different locations.

Playing Pokémon Sapphire and the first run of Shovel Knight on 3DS while in Florida with my grandparents.

Playing through Pokémon Firered while in New York many, many years ago for my cousin’s Bat Mitzvah.

Playing Fire Emblem Fates (Birthright specifically) while in New York for a journalism conference.

Playing Pokémon White 2 in a Target near the Del Amo Mall by my house.

I could go on and on with this list frankly, and at least 80 percent of the examples are clearly Pokémon inspired — in case you ever needed a good reason why the series is my favorite of all time.

But I think you get the point.

Before you think I’m a total loser though, just know it isn’t all video game examples running through my head. Even if those are the most prevalent.

For instance, I remember finishing Wilson Rawls’ “Where the Red Fern Grows” while riding our family exercise bike when it was still in my parent’s room.

Followed soon after by bawling uncontrollably all over our family exercise bike when I finished the book.

Screw you Rawls. I’m still not over that.

This writing on the treadmill thing actually kind of sucks so I think I’m going to cut things off here. Try not to kill myself on exercise machines and give myself some closure to focus wholeheartedly on stressing myself out over a quiz later.

Just figured it would be worth sharing this cool new term I learned today that gave me the words to describe a phenomenon I’ve noticed quite often.

Have you found any sort of terms or words like that recently?

Or, if not, what sort of temporal contiguities have you experienced that really stuck with you?

Let me know down in the comments!

Minor musings on Robert F. Kennedy and the English language

On an otherwise lazy day where I basically did next to nothing of note worth talking about with any serious bravado around here, leave it to Dr. Jason Sexton and Boom to give me something interesting and intellectual to reflect on.

Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968. It will officially be the 50th anniversary of that event in just three days.

The history of the Kennedy family isn’t exactly something I think about too often, despite the intriguing nature of the “Kennedy curse” as it were.

As a result, it was interesting doing a copy edit on the 17-page essay written by Joseph Palermo. The piece examines the death of Bobby Kennedy and what motives drove the assassination, both the actual motivations and whatever motivations were placed upon the assassin. He questions whether or not it was appropriate to frame the politician’s death using the Israeli-Palestinian crisis (as many tried to do) based on logs of interactions kept by L.A. County Sheriffs who watched Sirhan.

It’s a rather well done piece that I enjoyed reading, one that gave me a deeper understanding of a period of history I don’t often think about too seriously. Dr. Sexton is hoping to get the thing out on Tuesday, the actual 50th anniversary, and I’d recommend everyone read it once it’s out in the world.

However I didn’t just want to take this time to promote an essay that hasn’t yet been released.

I also wanted to spend some time reflecting on the English language, because copy editing writing does give one plenty of opportunities to think about how needlessly dumb and overcomplicated this great language can be.

For example, there are so many words that are spelled similarly but have vastly different meanings.

At one point in the piece, someone is described as being a ‘demur’ person. Thinking the intent had been to write that they were a ‘demure’ person, I looked up the two words to get a better grasp of exactly what the difference was.

According to dictionary.com:


Demur (verb) — To make objection, especially on the grounds of scruples.
also (noun) — The act of making objection; an objection raised.


Demure (adjective) — Characterized by shyness and modesty; reserved.


Amazing how much difference one silent vowel makes, isn’t it?

In one fell swoop, a person can go from having a descriptor for someone to having an action. Or a noun that’s technically the embodiment of what that verb creates.

No wonder English language learners need extra assistance, the whole construct is just chocked full of rules, exceptions and similar elements like homophones that make it a nightmare to truly master the damn thing.

But hey, that’s the world I’m looking to immerse myself in one of these days, so it’s just my lot in life to try and learn, understand and apply these kinds of specifics.

Guess it’s a good thing I’ve got opportunities like Boom, Gladeo and the Titan around to help me start to work on everything, huh?