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You Don't Say

You Don't Say John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.
In a word: anorak

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:

ANORAK

If winter is not already here, it will be soon, and you will want to be properly outfitted to withstand wind and cold.

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Not a dime's worth of difference with "decimate"

You can forget about restricting decimate to the "one-tenth" sense.

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I was politically correct before it was evil

I first heard someone use the term “politically correct” thirty-five or forty years ago when I was in graduate school.

It was a self-conscious in-group reference at a time those of us who wished to appear sophisticated and well informed had to navigate some tricky social questions. Black or African-American? American Indian or Native American? Can you use queer if you’re not gay?

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In a word: Advent

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:

ADVENT

Sunday marked the beginning of Advent, the Christian liturgical season leading up to the Twelve Days of Christmas, which some of you may need to be reminded, the music in groceries and shopping malls notwithstanding,

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Know who stands by you

For the past several days I have taken to wearing a safety pin in the lapel of my jacket. I understand that this is the cheapest of cheap liberal gestures following the presidential election. But I reasoned that as an old white guy who dresses conservatively, I am the very sort who should broadcast to scorned minorities that he is safe.

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What to call the alt-right

A former colleague now laboring in the teaching fields sent this inquiry the other day:

“A student wonders why news stories refer to the ‘alt-right.’

“Is that just a euphemism for neo-Nazi or white supremacist? 

“Is ‘alt-right’ the umbrella term?  Or are we avoiding tough descriptions like ‘neo-Nazi’?

“What say you?

“Help us understand?”

What am I, an oracle?

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