7.22.2005

Three Things! Two, Sir. Two!

Some recent thoughts I managed to not forget:

• Don't know why, but I've started collecting words that have common negative usage but rarely-used positives. Like "unrequited". Requited is a word, but no one ever speaks of "requited love" (btw, I've never said this word right. It's Ri-QUITE. I want to say WRECK-WIT, because it looks like "requiem"). "Unabashed" is another one I wanted to mention, but just today I was told onpg. 273 of the new Harry that "Riddle did not look remotely abashed". So, there, I guess. And "unnerved". No one is ever said to be "nerved." There's not even an adjective form. Others, please?

• On pg. 89 (so I'm wild about Harry. Sue me.), Hermione scrutinizes Harry "as though he was sickening for something." No, I'm not going to complain about the subjunctive, but thanks for mentioning it. I'm just curious about the phrase. Obviously a British-ism, for about to be sick. I have no comment, I just like new phrases. Like "tastes of chicken". I say that sometimes, now. Working "sickening for something" into conversation will be little harder.

...and where are your Tom Swifties? Come on, people! These Blogs are Made For Posting (and that's just what they'll do).


The Darkness' Growing on Me just came up on shuffle as I'm about to hit "Publish". Rock.

22 comments:

Bridget said...

I, too, have to fight back the desire to pronounce unrequited incorrectly.

As for negatives-without-positives, disgruntled is the one that comes to mind. I just found this page with some others. Somewhere in the bottom of a desk drawer 2,500 miles from here I have a longer list that took me years to compile...

BP said...

I'm like a nerdy word boy in a dictionary. I use dem words. Except 'nerved', I think. (And Rowling got off easy! Not-abashed is unabashed once removed.)

For the 'sickening' quote, do you think the difference between the English and American takes on that phrase would start with 'for'? If I said, "I'm sickening for Jenny," I'm very sure my friends would ask, "Why? Did she ask you to?" We just don't use 'for' as a synonym for 'because' much.

eric j. sherman said...

I have to be quite honest with you... I am a little disappointed. Here you are going off on all this subjunctive and apostrophes and you split your infinitives? How dare you!

Eric "Babe" Morse said...

bridget: thanks for the heads-up! if you ever find your list send it along!

bp: I don't think anyone would say "sickening for Jenny." Maybe. Thoughts, Alistair?(the only Brit I know reads me sometimes)?

frank: dude. guilty. it was, ah, a deliberate style choice, though. an attempt at humorous dialect. yeah. that's the ticket.

TheLoof said...

Yeah, I always thought that was how you pronounced unrequited, also. AP English takes away all your assumptions. And some British words and phrases in Harry Potter are quite interesting. I believe "snogging" is the British word of this new book.

Eric "Babe" Morse said...

No fake! If I want spit-swapping, I'll get a Harlequin! Sheesh!
Actually, it's not that bad, but it made me think of how they'll handle it in the movie. I don't really want to see it (the mashing) on the big screen.

Saif said...

Just think of all the people you know lacking in reck, feck or even ruth.

jess said...

I'm guilty of noticing the "abashed" in HP as well, made me chuckle. I'm in the habit of taking parts off of words to create new meanings, although I can't think of any at the moment and just end up sounding crazy. Come to think of it, people do look at me like I'm crazy when I use them...

jess said...

Aha, I found one - nonplussed. Who ever says plussed? Perhaps we should.

NickwithanS said...

http://www.candyboots.com/
wwcards/snacksonstick.html

I found that to be interesting. Just delete that break.

Eric "Babe" Morse said...

Saif: I think "lacking in reck" may work itself into my vocabulary...

Jess: your comment led me to a very funny story that's totally on topic. I'm going to post it now.

ACoolKid said...

As far as Britishisms go, can anyone explain "Wotcher?"

It is always used as a greeting, and it seems to be specific to the character, Tonks. But it's never followed with a line like "What did you say, Tonks?" So I figure someone must know what it means...

Thanks

ACoolKid said...

Another great source for language straight-ups is the "McNally's" series by Lawrence Sanders. The "hero" Archibald McNally seemingly has little to do but discover little-used words and appropriate bon mots between solving big mysteries. Most appropriately, he is a big fan of being 'plussed' about random goings-on. I have only read the books published before the death of Sanders, but you can polish one off in a day, and get some fun language jazz to boot! Dig in.

assailablecool.blogspot.com

Eric "Babe" Morse said...

I take wotcher like "Watch yourself." Not sure if I'm on the track or not....

Saif said...

Wotcher = How are you doing.

I'm not sure of the etymology, but this link may throw some light on it:
http://www.rwlswann.org.uk/songs/campfire/gingganggooly.htm

Eric "Babe" Morse said...

Guess ACkid does a better job with context clues than I...

Alistair! said...

"Wotcher" can also be used as a warning as well as a greeting. As in:

A boy is picking up the lid of a boiling pan to see what is going on and his mum says "Wotcher!" to warn him away from the danger.

As to " to be sickening for something": An idiomatic expression to define an uknown pining for something. Often used by third parties to comment on someone else.
A:" Look at the poor little blighter, he's sickening for something."
B:" Yeah, probably his mum."

ACoolKid said...

Thanks for clearing things up, Saif!
I'm gonna bypass the use of "Wotcher" and go straight to "oompa!"

;-)

Doug said...

Here's a good one. I got this helpful reminder in an e-mail from my mom.

"CAUTION. Do not give out your SSN be it tentional or intentional.

Love,
mom."

Anonymous said...

i think "wotcher" might mean "what you up to", or something, you know. i checked the word in urban dictionary and that's the best fit i could find. besides, in harry potter, tonks says it too much at random times for it to mean watch out. i mean, she even says it when she is greeting harry as he enters the weasley's house. it might also be a greeting that only tonks uses...but i think its highly unlikely.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm British and I have never heard anyone say 'wotcher'. 'Snogging' is used quite frequently, meaning a long, passionate kiss rather than a quick peck, used to provide a more accurate description than simply 'kissing', though it is slang, I believe.

From reading everyone's comments, it would seem that 'wotcher' means the same as 'hey'. Both can be used as greetings, warnings, to show surprise, etc..

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