The etymology of “pay through the nose”

| November 1, 2015

I don't recall why I used the phrase “pay through the nose” this past week, but this sounds about right … Instead of fighting the invaders, some English kings preferred to pay the Vikings to leave them in peace. These payments were called 'Danegeld' (meaning 'Dane debt' or Dane payment). The Vikings collected tribute in […]

What’s the difference between Jury Rig and Jerry Rig?

| March 6, 2014

Earlier this week I used a term in the title of a post, “Jury rigging SeaTalk connections on marine electronics,” and was sent an email questioning me about using the term Jury-Rig instead of Jerry Rig. Jury-Rig is the term used in my nautical books and magazines and I’ve adopted that, but  I like the […]

Word for today: chimera – a fanciful mental illusion

| March 2, 2013

Although one would think that after my years of reading, editing, writing, printing and publishing words on paper, I would know the appropriate usage of the word chimera. Embarrassingly I did not. I came across it today and questioned the author of an article while reading copy. A little digging had me realize that the […]

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.