Riveting Stuff!

Have you ever noticed that riveting can have two meanings? It can mean fascinating, but also the action of fixing rivets (metal pins) to a surface (I was thinking about this recently after hearing someone talk about the riveters who worked on the Titanic). It might seem odd that it can have these two meanings, but if you think about it, it makes sense.

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Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Good

Adjective:

(of a person, especially a woman or child) attractive in a delicate way without being truly beautiful.

‘a pretty little girl with an engaging grin’

Adverb:

To a moderately high degree; fairly.

‘he looked pretty fit for his age’

‘it was a pretty bad injury’

Pretty is, well, a pretty interesting word. The definition that immediately comes to mind for you is probably the first one above. What really interests me about this definition is that last part: without being truly beautiful. Pretty is certainly a less powerful word than beautiful. Because of that it, like nice, feels almost like an insult to use it to describe someone. Sure, it’s technically a positive word, but when you’ve got so many other adjectives you can use, calling someone pretty feels like a deliberate choice to not use something more unambiguously complimentary.

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The Etymology of Instagram

While writing about social media yesterday, a thought occurred: what’s the etymology of the name Instagram? The Insta- part seemed pretty obvious, but I was curious about the –gram part. Luckily, when you want to find out about the etymology of the names of social media, you don’t have to do too much digging…

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I Thought I’d Thought you Better than That!

I think everyone has little things that people say or write that drive them crazy. Things that are strictly incorrect, like I could care less, I should of known better, or I’ve went there a lot. I try not to get annoyed by such things, but there’s one that always bugs me: thought instead of taught. Continue reading