Monthly Archives: December 2011

Meanings: “Wee,” “Damn”

December 22, 2011 Geoff Pullam at Language Log helpfully explains that when a Scotsman says he’s “going for a wee cup o’ tea,” he doesn’t mean that the cup of tea will be a small one.  Likely it will be … Continue reading

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Frontiers of Academic Freedom: Can It Block a Subpoena?

December 21, 2011 Should academic freedom trump a lawfully-issued subpoena?  That’s the question in a federal case involving researchers at Boston College. The case involves oral history interviews with persons involved in “the Troubles” in Northern Ireland.  Those interviewed were … Continue reading

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Meanings: “Circumstances”

December 20, 2011 A colleague writes to others on a search committee, “Due to circumstances it sees unlikely that we will be able to set up interview conference calls during the first week in January.”  ‘Darn those pesky circumstances,’ was … Continue reading

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Meanings “Cauterize”

December 18, 2011 Not the commonest of words but quite a graphic one, “cauterize” comes from a Latin root meaning “to burn or brand with a hot iron.” What put me in mind of the word was this quotation from … Continue reading

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Meanings: “Occupy”

December 16, 2011 What will be this year’s Word of the Year?  According to Ben Zimmer, chair of the committee of the American Dialect Society that chooses the ADS “word of the year” (or WOTY), the odds on favorite is … Continue reading

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