Word – nonplussed

I had a feeling this was the definition, but the shock left me nonplussed so that at the moment I could not remember the definition at all.


  1. (of a person) Surprised and confused so much that they are unsure how to react.
  2. (of a person) Unperturbed.




Treacly (adj.) – Cloying. Overly sweet.
Treacle (n.) – Contrived sentimentality.

"Treacly kitsch" was the description of Thomas Kinkade’s work, which we once received on a jigsaw puzzle from a family member for Christmas. Of course this means I have to look up "cloying" also, and might as well review the exact definition of kitsch again too.

Kitsch (n.) – Something that is tawdry or appealing to unrefined taste.

Cloying (adj.) – Causing aversion through excess.

Banished words

In a stroke of brilliance at a 1975/76 New Year’s party, some folks at Lake Superior State University started a banished words list. Overused, misused, or useless words: http://www.lssu.edu/banished/current.php

According to the rulers of this three decades old tradition, you should strike from your lexicon both amazing and thanks in advance.


Imprimatur means official approval or sanction. Specifically it refers to the Roman Catholic Church’s approval for what can be printed and published in their name. The etymology is from the Latin imprimere which means "to print".
Nowadays imprimatur is used in context of speech as well as printing; basically you have someone’s approval and backing for what you say.


Wait, am I about to blow myself up?

A petard is a small bomb, basically a 17th century version of a hand grenade. Used in modern language mostly in conjunction with a phrase that implies falling into one’s own trap.

Though the strategy of letting the Giants score quickly seemed the Patriots best hope, ultimately the team fell on Belichick’s petard. 



Scurrilous (adj.) – Spreading scandalous claims about someone in order to damage their reputation

The review was negative but not scurrilous. 


I read “autophagy” in an article about the scientific research investigating aging and exercise. We know that exercise helps you become healthier and live longer, but Why? Researchers found evidence that it encourages autophagy.

autophagy (n.) – a cell eating itself .

Your cells have been extra cannibalistic for 200 years

Or more descriptively, some enzymes eating the proteins, fat, water and other molecules that surround the nucleus of a cell. This means that people who live in near-starvation can actually live longer because of cellular activity which is ridding the body of unhealthy or superfluous protoplasmic material. Exercise encourages similar cellular activity. In future treatments that are designed to make people live longer, it now seems very likely that they will focus on methods to increase autophagy.

The fictitious “Life Extension” scientists were probably masters at authophagy.