Word of the Day: Cesspool

Cesspool is a pit or cistern, built to collect the sewage or other sediments from a house. It is commonly used to describe any filthy or immoral place. The problem is most Americans agree with Bolton that the U.N. is a cesspool of its own crapulence, stealing American tax dollars intended for global do-goodery while … Read more

Threw and Through

When I read the expression “through me for a loop” in a recent comment, I can tell you, it threw me for a loop! I decided to cruise the web and see if this version of the expression had become common. It has. Admittedly most of the usage I found occurs in comments to articles, … Read more

Word of the Day: Veneer

Veneer is a thin layer of attractive wood (or other material) glued on top of cheaper wood, to enhance the overall appearance. Usually the term is used figuratively, meaning anything that covers the real nature of something. Nelson Mandela wants to use the rugby World Cup, for white South Africans the absolute pinnacle of sport, … Read more

Don’t Snite in Public

Every so often I renew my attempts to read Beowulf in the original Old English. I suppose the pleasure I derive from the effort is similar to that of the geologist who goes fossil hunting. The delight springs from discovery. It’s fun to find, among the many strange ancient forms, a word that is still … Read more

Tapping into the Christian Market

This is a guest post by Barbara Youree. If you want to write for Daily Writing Tips check the guidelines here. If your goal is to be published somewhere—anywhere—to build up credits that will open the door to larger publications, the religious market is a good place to begin. Study the market Determine what publishers … Read more

And Also

Brian Shone writes: I work for the NHS and I attend many meetings during the week, a common term used throughout each meeting is “and also” this I believe is incorrect. This term is also used in my Catholic Church liturgy; The Lord be with you, and also with you. Should we be using two words together … Read more

30 Religious Terms You Should Know

When I was growing up in small town America, stories about religion were generally confined to the Saturday church pages in the local newspaper. Catholics and Jews were the most exotic religious practitioners in town, and “atheist” was a strong term of disapprobation. These days religion is front page news. People are killed or driven … Read more

Truth or Fact?

Reader Harshit Choudhary poses the question What is the difference between “Fact” and “Truth”? He goes on to offer his own definitions: Fact: It will never change, e.g. Sun rise in the east. This is fact. Truth: I am in New York. But all the time this statement couldn’t be true. He suggests that fact indicates a universal truth … Read more

Word of the Day: Wrangle

Wrangle means to dispute something angrily; to argue noisily. But now, as planners try to figure out how to build and pay for the park, and lawmakers wrangle over the details, it is starting to look as if the political battle was the easy part. (NY Times) Caught between rasping laughter and the low moan … Read more

Motherland or Fatherland?

Carol Bakker has a question: is there a “rule” for using motherland and fatherland?  Do northern countries tend to use fatherland more? The Wikipedia article on fatherland lists close to 50 languages/countries that employ a term that’s the equivalent of “fatherland.” Location, north or south, doesn’t seem to have much to do with it. It’s … Read more

Word of the Day: Splurge

Splurge means to make a great display in any way. Usually, however, the display comes through expensive or extravagant things. America’s most vibrant political force at the moment is the anti-tax tea-party movement. Even in leftish Massachusetts people are worried that Mr Obama’s spending splurge, notably his still-unpassed health-care bill, will send the deficit soaring. … Read more

Getting a Raise and Getting a Rise

Natasha asks: What is the difference between rise and raise? As far as I understand, they both have to do with an increase, but they are also supposed to be different. Is that correct? The words raise and rise have numerous meanings, both as verbs and as nouns. Some common meanings of rise as a … Read more