You Don't Say

You Don't Say John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.
You can stop worrying about Sharia law. Really.

Roy Moore, the former state Supreme Court chief justice and Sharia law hysteric who is a candidate for the United States Senate in Alabama, said recently that whole communities in the Midwest, particularly Illinois, are under Sharia law.

Read more
The universal explanation

Some puzzled comments have cropped up online about last weekend’s right-wing demonstration in Charlottesville. Why, people wonder, if the point was a statue of Robert E. Lee and Confederate heritage, was there all that shouting about Jews?

One explanation has been around for some time, near the end of Mary McCarthy’s “Artists in Uniform,” published in Harper’s in 1953.

Read more
In a word: seersucker

In the summertime, particularly in the South, you can see gentlemen adjusting to the heat by wearing seersucker suits.

Seersucker is a light linen, rayon, or cotton textile, crinkled and typically bearing a pattern of stripes.

The word is of some interest because it arrives in English from neither the Germanic nor the French/Latin roots.

Read more
First time tragedy, second time farce

Initially it was amusing to see Richard Spencer, the agitprop dilettante, and his feckless followers in a torchlight parade.

Apparently lacking the ept to make an actual torch, they parade with Tiki Torches redolent of citronella. Mostly young men, they have the look of having pledged unsuccessfully to the popular fraternities. They chant Nazi slogans, give Nazi salutes, carry Nazi emblems.

Read more
In a word: detritus

Each week The Sun’s John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your vocabulary. This week's word:

DETRITUS

Detritus (pronounced duh-TRY-tus) in its earliest sense meant the fragments left from the disintegration of rocks.

Read more
In a word: recondite

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your vocabulary. This week's word:

RECONDITE

Last week, in writing about erudite, I used the word recondite. Perhaps it should have a turn.

It means “profound,” “abstruse,” “little known,” “obscure,” “beyond ordinary knowledge or understanding.”

Read more
86°