You’re probably familiar with the term bimbo, a pejorative term for a stupid, vacuous (but attractive) woman. It’s one that seems to be used much more in writing, particularly tabloid journalism, than speaking, but one most people well-acquainted with English will probably know.
And recently, bimbo has been joined by himbo, a vacuous, stupid (but attractive) man. Only fair, of course, that there’s a word for the gander as well as the goose. Though the fact there was no male version of bimbo until it was coined recently is also quite revealing of the structural patriarchialism underlying a lot of languages. Or you could also look at it as being male stupidity being taken for granted so much that there was no need to create a specific term for stupid men. Whatever way you see it though, it’s quite curious that bimbo wasn’t actually always so gender specific. Continue reading
If you’re a regular reader, you might remember me writing about the verb to decimate some time ago. The gist was, to decimate had never been used to mean destroy or reduce by 10% in English, so it was incorrect and unjustified to “correct” people using it to mean to devastate or kill a large proportion of a group of people.
And I still basically stand by that assertion. Basically… Continue reading
-Going anywhere nice this year? Going abroad?
I haven’t had a haircut in a while, so I haven’t had the pleasure of such charming conversation recently. But I recently thought about the word abroad while reading. You see, it was being in the more old-fashioned way, as in: Continue reading
I used the word surplus when I was writing the other day, and as soon as I saw it on my screen I thought, How have I never noticed that before? Continue reading
You might hear this sound quite a bit over the next few days. Perhaps someone might be trying to give you a scare. Or perhaps they might be expressing disapproval at your choice of Hallowe’en costume. But why do we always use boo to frighten or to show disapproval? Continue reading
I read something interesting in Italian the other day:
Questo libro mi sta piacendo un casino. (I really like this book a lot).
I understood everything except un casino, though the meaning was still clear. Looking up un casino, I saw that the first meaning for it was a mess. Continue reading
OK, that doesn’t make any sense, does it? Let me explain why. Continue reading