Graeme −> Language −> Structure −> Constructions −> Wordy 


One man's catchy phrase is another man's overly complex phrase:

In the Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (A BBC TV series starring Leonard Rossiter written by David Nobbs), Reggie's boss, C.J. was fond of saying "Never use two words where one will do, Reggie.  That's my motto.  That's my axiom.  That's the way I look at things."  (More about Reggie.)

utilize -- I always try to utilize the words that will impress people the most.   So how is it that I fail so often?

Ego Surfing: Scanning the 'Net for references to one's own name.

Blamestorming: a group discussion to determine who was responsible for the failure of a project.

Stratified squamous epithelium -- skin.

Percussive maintenance -- repairing [something] by giving it a whack.

Kit and Caboodle.

Nook and Cranny -- be honest, did you search all the nooks and all the crannies, too?

Rant and Rave --  should I rant first, then rave?  What if ranting makes me too tired to rave?  Why are there so many more raving lunatics than ranting ones?

Blithering Idiot -- tell me the truth: have you ever taken the time to look up the verb, "to blither"?  It means to talk foolishly or nonsensically.  But it's almost never seen without an idiot tagging along for the ride.

Lock, Stock, and Barrel.

Hook, Line, and Sinker.

Time wounds all heals.

Write-only memory -- this comes from a description of hacker humor: /n./ The obvious antonym to "read-only memory". Out of frustration with the long and seemingly useless chain of approvals required of component specifications, during which no actual checking seemed to occur, an engineer at Signetics once created a specification for a write-only memory and included it with a bunch of other specifications to be approved. This inclusion came to the attention of Signetics management only when regular customers started calling and asking for pricing information. Signetics published a corrected edition of the data book and requested the return of the 'erroneous' ones. Later, around 1974, Signetics bought a double-page spread in "Electronics" magazine's April issue and used the spec as an April Fools' Day joke. Instead of the more conventional characteristic curves, the 25120 "fully encoded, 9046 x N, Random Access, write-only-memory" data sheet included diagrams of "bit capacity vs. Temp.", "Iff vs. Vff", "Number of pins remaining vs. number of socket insertions", and "AQL vs. selling price". The 25120 required a 6.3 VAC VFF supply, a +10V VCC, and VDD of 0V, +/- 2%.

"Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" is a catchy phrase coined by Ernst Haeckel, a 19th century German biologist and philosopher to mean that the development of an organism (ontogeny) expresses all the intermediate forms of its ancestors throughout evolution (phylogeny).   His theory was later proved wrong, but the catch phrase remains.

(Here's a story about a hideous gaffe, in which I had misquoted Haeckel as "Ontology recapitulates phylogeny")

Yes, "Tequila Mockingbird" is really a drink.  Bar None has a (obsolete reference: "") recipe for it.   For more drinks and a joke recipe for a Tequila Mockingbird, here's a bar cheat sheet.


Related pages in this website

Go back to Constructions, further back to Structure, or all the way back to Language