2023_#36: Weird Word Wednesday – Ailurophile

This week’s weird word is ailurophile. According to Merriam Webster, ailurophile means “a cat fancier; a lover of cats.” What can I say? I can’t help that I find cats cute and cuddly and wonderful. What about you? Are you more of a cat person, a dog person, or neither? If you choose to take up the challenge, please add a pingback to this prompt.

I am an ailurophile. There is no question, and no one who knows me would argue that point.

Ailurophile comes from the Greek word “ailouros,” which means cat and the suffix “-phile,” meaning lover. There is also the word ailurophobe, which means having a fear of or aversion to cats. That second word is definitely not me!

I have a few cats who live with me. Four, to be exact. I think four cats is sort of teetering on crossing the line between sane and crazy cat lady, but it is solidly on the line. It is neither here nor there.

The fact is, even though I would love to add more to my clowder, I know four is enough. And I know what happens when I upset the delicate and every changing balance of the group. Even now, we have our moments of unrest. Adding more would not be wise.

And so I stay solidly planted on the line, enjoying being an ailurophile and snuggling with all my feline friends. ❤


2023_#34: Weird Word Wednesday – Cakeism

This week’s weird word is cakeism. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, cakeism means “the wish to have or do two good things at the same time when this is impossible. This word comes from the phrase ‘to have your cake and eat it too.’” I am all about having cake. (And eating it, too!). Write about your weird word… or your cake! If you choose to take up the challenge, please add a pingback to this prompt.

A slice of birthday cake

Today, I was introduced to the word cakeism. What a totally awesome word, at least the way I think of it—in terms of cake!

But the fact is, this word has taken on a decidedly negative connotation, in keeping with the phrase from which it emerged. It has been used a great deal in politics—to refer to the people pushing for Brexit, for example, who want the benefits of the European Union without actually being part of it. And in the U.S., there are many policy-makers who base their whole platforms on a policy of cakeism.

Let me be completely honest for a minute… I’ve never really understood the phrase, “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.” If I have cake, I’m definitely going to eat it. After all, if you have cake, you don’t want it to go to waste, right? In fact, I only have cake when I’m going to eat it, so I don’t see how these two things are in opposition. “You can’t have it both ways” seems a more fitting phrase to use in situations that require a phrase of this sort.

Meanwhile, all this talk of cake is making me hungry. I think I’m going to go buy some cake… and eat it, too!

2023_#31: Weird Word Wednesday – Hootenanny

This week’s weird word is hootenanny. The definition of this word, according to Merriam-Webster, is a gadget or “a gathering at which folk singers entertain often with the audience joining in.” Share your weird words here. If you choose to take up the challenge, please add a pingback to this prompt.

Photo by Fey Marin on Unsplash 

My coworker was texting her sister yesterday, and she tried to text, “Ha, ha.” Somehow, her phone auto-corrected to “Hootenanny.” How in the world it went from “ha, ha” to “hootenanny” is anyone’s guess. Now, I imagine a hootenanny could be a “ha, ha” sort of event, though I’ve never actually attended one. Therefore, I’m not actually able to say with any certainty.

Personally, I thought a hootenanny was a rowdy ruckus, as in, “What’s all that hootenanny going on in there?” I’m actually glad I chose this word for today’s weird word. Otherwise, I might spend the rest of my life not knowing the true definition of the word. And consequently, mis-using it.

I like Wikipedia’s take on this word the best: “…an Appalachian colloquialism that was used in the early twentieth century U.S. as a placeholder name to refer to things whose names were forgotten or unknown. In this usage it was synonymous with thingamajig or whatchamacallit.” I can see myself using this word as a place holder. “Hey, see that hootenanny over there? Can you fetch that for me?”

So if you hear me using the word hootenanny, at least you know I’m using it correctly!

2023_#29: Weird Word Wednesday – Doozy

This week’s weird word is doozy. The definition of this word, according to Merriam-Webster, is “an extraordinary one of its kind.” Not what I had intended to write today, but there you go. Got a good weird word? If you choose to take up the challenge, please add a pingback to this prompt.

My cat

It’s been quite a week, friends. Today was my second—oops! third—day of nearly back-to-back meetings. Imagine my surprise when I was able to leave my office just a tad before 6:00. The sky still held a bit of pink on the horizon as I drove up the highway. I was looking forward to an evening of writing, completing a couple of tasks that needed to be done, and getting to bed early.

But the universe had other plans.

When I arrived home, I fed the cats, but I was missing one—the most food-motivated of my clowder. I set out on a search of the house, afraid of what I might find. I found her in the litter box, apparently stricken with some bladder issue or another. A call to our go-to emergency vet revealed they were at capacity and wouldn’t be able to see her until maybe 11:00. Yes, that’s PM. However, they suggested that the new veterinary urgent care (much closer than all the other emergency vets around) might be able to see her, I called.

They make appointments!!

So now, I’m home writing my Weird Word Wednesday post on a day that was definitely a doozy of a day! And I’ve still got to go back to the vet to pick up the cat….

2023_#27: Weird Word Wednesday – Burstiness

This week’s Weird Word is burstiness. I came across this word through an interaction with technology, and I decided it should be a new word for me. Burstiness (not in a technology context) means, “the degree to which something occurs in abrupt bursts.” Yes, this is definitely a new and lovely word to add to my vocabulary! If you choose to take up the challenge, please add a pingback to this prompt.

Burstiness is a term I came across in a technological context. According to Collins dictionary, burstiness means “the transmission of data in short, uneven bursts.” Technology. And I was disappointed because this word immediately spoke to me. The sound of the word rolling off the tongue is upbeat and happy. I can see myself finding reasons to use this word.

For example, I think about the way children play… or do anything, really. They play hard for a bit, then sit. But before long, they are back up, playing. If that isn’t bustiness, I don’t know what is. There are days when I, too, do things with burstiness. Especially on the days I clean the house. A burst of cleaning, and then I get distracted and move on to something else. Oops, but wait… I was cleaning, so I focus on another burst of cleaning. Now that I think about it, that might not be burstiness. That might be more like distraction.

2023_#22: Weird Word Wednesday – Gauche

This week’s Weird Word Wednesday is gauche. This word is somewhat common and not all that weird, but I find the etymology is interesting. While it’s a word I have used in French, I don’t remember ever using it in English. But maybe I have an idea for how I might use it…. Is there a weird word that you find… well, awkward? If you choose to take up the challenge, please add a pingback to this prompt.

Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash 

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, gauche means “lacking social experience or grace.” Other meanings are crude or awkward.  Gauche, in French, means “left,” but it can also mean awkward or clumsy.

The etymology of gauche includes “ties to old suspicions and negative associations relating to the left side and use of the left hand” (Merriam-Webster.com). Back in the day, left-handed people had to be careful or they could be tried as witches. Then again, many activities could pinpoint one as a witch. But it’s funny that we built a right-handed world and then labeled the left-handers “awkward.” And it’s also funny how words come to have meaning, and the meaning sticks. Forever.

Studying the word gauche and learning its origins doesn’t make me more likely to use it. In fact, I am less likely to use it now. You know the way the kids these days will respond to a situation with one word, “Awk-ward!” drawn out in a way to make the situation even more awkward? Maybe “gauche” would be an equally effective response in such a situation.

But upon further thought, the word’s monosyllabic briefness makes it a gauche alternative.

2023_#18: Weird Word Wednesday – Gumshoe

This week’s Weird Word Wednesday is gumshoe. This word came about in my life this week because of a new role I have taken on—that of a gumshoe. It was an unexpected shift, at best, but I am making the most of it. Is there a weird word that you have become entangled with recently? If you choose to take up the challenge, please add a pingback to this prompt.

Photo by Mediamodifier on Unsplash 

This week, I have unexpectedly become a gumshoe. This is an endeavor that came about quite by accident, but if I had been watching the signs, I would have seen it coming. I would have recognized that the advent of new technology would mean we would have to be on the lookout for lurking AI generated text in student papers. And with a tech savvy population, we should have known it would be sooner rather than later.

Gumshoe is a weird word for a sleuth. It reminds me of a sticky piece of chewing gum stuck to the sole of your shoe such that you can feel the slight stick with each step. So I investigated the etymology of the word because I was curious. From the Online Etymology Dictionary I read that gumshoe is a plainclothes detective, and the word originated in 1906, “from the rubber-soled shoes they wore (allowing stealthy movement).” These shoes were called gums or “rubber shoes” from 1863 or 1859, I couldn’t quite figure out which.

And now, the word makes a bit more sense. I can see these people sneaking around on their nearly silent shoes, looking for clues and evidence and missing persons.

As for my own sleuthing (is gumshoeing a word?)…. Never in my wildest imaginings did I see myself sleuthing out computer generated text in student writing. But sooner or later, it was bound to happen. I’m sure George Jetson predicted this (just like moving walkways and Zoom meetings) buried somewhere in those many episodes of sci-if cartoons. I guess I just wasn’t paying close enough attention.

2023_ #15: Weird Word Wednesday – Cattywampus

I am sneaking in under the wire here with Weird Word Wednesday. I’m excited to share today’s word: Cattywampus. According to YourDictionary.com, cattywampus means “not lined up or not arranged correctly, or diagonally; in disarray, disorder, or askew.” Merriam-Webster also uses the term “kitty-corner” in the definition. Can you see yourself using this word? I think it would be a fun word to add to my vocabulary. What weird word makes you happy? If you choose to take up the challenge, please add a pingback to this prompt.

Photo by Danae Paparis on Unsplash 

My father always gave directions by drawing maps and using landmarks. He would sketch out directions while saying something like, “Drive north on Main Street and take a left right here after the white church….” I’m pretty sure my dad would have used the word cattywampus if it had been part of his vocabulary. “After you turn left, go about half a mile, and the store will be cattywampus to the Post Office.”

Personally, I think the other usage of cattywampus is also fantastic and one that I plan to use. Regularly. And often. In fact, as the new semester is beginning and I’m trying to get back into the daily routine of work and students and meetings and reports, my brain is all cattywampus. I am having trouble stringing my thoughts together in a logical manner. Thankfully, I know once we settle in, my thoughts will be back in order.

And there you go: cattywampus. I hope you find a way to use it soon!