Take an oeillade on this overlooked subject-verb disagreement

Do not be overcome with shame and guilt. I have fallen victim to this overlooked subject-verb agreement issue. Plus, eleven previously unranked words join the Words of the Week.

My doubts about function words’ legitimacy at the Words of the Week table have been proven wrong. Consecutively, adjective and noun got their spotlight. Verb has now earned its stripes for Words of the Week by presenting us a subject-verb agreement of which I was aware, but for a different reason. For that entry, I got to exercise my feeble sentence-diagramming muscles and play the part of a pretentious grammarian. Not sure if I enjoyed that latter part so much.

This week’s editions was a happy one because eleven new words made themselves available for scrutiny. They are:

  • (1) Happy
  • (6) Catachresis
  • (8) Aureate
  • (9) Alfresco
  • (15) Waveson
  • (17) Oeillade
  • (18) Magnify
  • (19) Hinder
  • (20) Mingy
  • (21) Aggrandize
  • (24) Vanilla

Nothing for me to soliloquize about for this week, so we can jump right into this edition of Words of the Week.

Words of the Week for May 18-25, 2020

1. Happy

Last week’s ranking: unranked

Meaning and usage

We think of “happy” as meaning to be characterized by happiness – pleasant and joyous, even. Yet according to the unabridged version of Merriam-Webster, happy means to be “favoured by luck or fortune” or “notably well adapted or fitting.”

Why it is in the news

The many happy returns

Happy chance that the return of happy to Words of the Week coincides with many businesses and public areas reopening to the public – a happy return for the word and for customers in their respective realms.

A three-peat for Finland

When sport dynasties reign supreme for consecutive years, they become the villains of the sporting world. Everyone wants to the see the multi-year champs fall from grace. Think of the ire teams such as the New England Patriots, the Golden State Warriors, Real Madrid, and UCONN Women’s Basketball have gathered during their awe-inspiring – I mean, loathsome – runs.

When I read that Finland was named the happiest country in the world for the third consecutive year, the same burning feeling of spite and envy consumed me. I am weary to see the same collective unit of social identity and culture perform so well year after year, all because they are committed to excellence and possess solid leadership and a homogenous goal.

The New England Patriots? More like Cheat-riots.

Finland? Fin-aglers.

2. Noun

Last week’s ranking: 1

Meaning and usage

Zoom, the video-chat platform, is, as you may well know, a proper noun. The prevalent use of Zoom by isolated business colleagues, churches, and families during the ecdemic has converted the noun into a verb. This process of conversion is also known as anthimeria, and it may give reason as to why “undesigning” has been used a verb in recent weeks, a conversion of the verb “design” into a negative form.

Why it is in the news

Kentucky Distanced Learning

I was grateful last week to have substantive material with which to write about for noun. A classic battle of the sexes instigated a wonderful look into the gender classification of words in different languages.

This week, a University of Kentucky article celebrated the life of Wilma Klein, the woman who pioneered distance learning long before “Zoom became a noun.” Klein created the first instructional television program in 1957.

3. Pandemic

Last week’s ranking: 2

Meaning and usage

The pandemy is what gives the media its power. It is a life source for ad revenue created by editorial boards. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds us to our Twitter feeds.

Why it is in the news

Another video game designed to ruin children’s lives

A free online video game was made to help teach children the importance of social distancing. Can You Save the World? is well made, but I abhor its long-lasting effects on the psyche of our youth.

The game’s photo-realism only enhances the engrossing experience of fear and paranoia it aims to create.

We know that violent video games create killers in our society. We can be certain that this game will create self-isolating, paranoid ninnies in the future.

4. Adjective

Last week’s ranking: 4

Meaning and usage

Let us look at the “adject” part of adjective. To adject is to “add or annex” and comes from the Middle English word adjecten, or “to say in addition, attribute, annex.” We can look back further in history and see that adject was borrowed from the Latin adjectus, the past participle of adjicere meaning “to throw at… add to (in speech or writing).”

I find that fascinating, and I am so happy that I have adjected Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Online Dictionary into my life.

Why it is in the news

The endemy

This terrible, awful ecdemic has disrupted the lives of many good, honest, upstanding men and women – people of good constitution – who live peaceful, thoughtful existences while working respectable, meaningful jobs in order to support their beautiful, promising, and hopeful families within the confines of a strength and concinnity.

5. Fascism

Last week’s ranking: 3

Meaning and usage

The only Italian words I know come from the mouth of Super Mario, but the word fascism is from the Italian fascismo. Fascio means “bundle or political group”.

Why it is in the news

Il-Duce’s fascist foibles

A new book that I would certainly like to have and would make a concerted effort to purchase it at any airport prior to a 20-plus-hour flight (because I am more likely to buy a book at an airport than a bookstore, go figure; also, a dormant love for handling a newspaper erupts whilst I wait at the gate before my flight) is out. Mussolini’s War by John Gooch accounts for Il Duce’s erratic leadership before and during the Second World War.

The Fascist leader was “gungho and monosyllabic, truculent and cheerful, he changed his senior soldiers around, issued orders and then cancelled them, committing Italy to battles she could not win,” summarised Caroline Moorehead in her review of the book for The Guardian.

6. Catachresis

Last week’s ranking: unranked

Meaning and usage

Seeing new words in Words of the Week, especially at so high of a position, always peeks my interest. A catachresis is the misuse of words, and it come from the Greek katachrēsthai. It is fortuitous for me and this blog to have something new and exciting about which to write! I am enervated each week to see what is next!

Why it is in the news

A catachresis for the ages

America is scheduled for its presidential election this November. The virus has detracted much of our attention on the running for the White House. In a world sans ecdemic, coverage of the run-up to the US presidential election would be non-stop. I think now we will experience an appropriate season of election coverage (a month or two like in most European countries, and not the year or two as in America).

Joe Biden is the presumed nominee for the Democrats. His health and mental vitality have been in question for some time, and these questions arise anytime there is footage of Biden fumbling around with words while speaking. Trump, on the other hand, appears healthy and sharp, but he is notorious for misusing, or even creating, words, a by-product of his off-the-cuff speaking style.

If these two are slated to combat each other on the debate stage this fall, we are in for a catachresis-laden feast.

7. Racism

Last week’s ranking: 8

Meaning and usage

Racism is the “assumption that psychocultural traits and capacities are determined by biological race…” and “a belief in the inherent superiority of a particular race and its right to domination over others.”

Why it is in the news

Racism is a public health crisis, Franklin County, Ohio says

Commissioners in Franklin County, Ohio declared that racism is “a public health crisis.” The coronavirus has “exacerbated a health divide resulting in Black residents having lower life expectancies than White residents.” The resolution passed by the commissioners stated “Black residents are hospitalized at twice the rate of other demographic groups … and preliminary data in Ohio that suggest African Americans are dying at a disproportionately higher rate from the disease.”  

Volksgwagen wegen einer “rassistischen” Anzeige geschmäht (Volkswagen reviled over a “racist“ ad)

The German auto maker has done it again, apparently. A series of Instagram ads promoting the new Golf model attracted ire because of the depiction of a larger-than-life white female hand picking up and flicking away a black man who was standing near a VW.

The ad gained bonus racism points by having the first letters to fade of the words Der Neue Golf (the new Golf) able to be scrambled to spell neger, the German equivalent of that one word you know. All of this takes place outside a café called Petit Colon, translated from the French as “Little Colonist” or “Little Settler.”

You can find a replay of the advert here.

I doubt racism was the motivation for the creation of this ad. It is nonetheless a strange ad.

If there is a vacancy in Volkswagen’s marketing department, I am interested.

8. Aureate

Last week’s ranking: unranked

Meaning and usage

Something is aureate is golden in colour, or is (deep breath in) “marked by a style that is affected, grandiloquent, and heavily ornamental, that uses rhetorical flourishes excessively, and that often employs interlarded foreign words and phrases” (wheeze). We all have those friends who interlard their speech with Italian when ordering at a Johnny Carino’s restaurant.

Why it is in the news

Donald Trump, the great aureate-er

 I could not get to the bottom of le mystère as to why aureate rose to prominence this week. C’est, ce que c’est.

The most prominent news that I could find containing the word “aureate” came from early April 2020. Trump, the man of great chutzpah, when speaking about his galactic space warriors ambitions, is credited to have said in a statement:

After braving the vast unknown and discovering the new world, our forefathers did not only merely sail home — and, in some cases, never to return. They stayed, they explored, they built, they guided, and through that pioneering spirit, they imagined all of the possibilities that few dared to dream.

Dawnuld Triump

Bon ben.

9. Alfresco

Last week’s ranking: unranked

Meaning and usage

Functioning as both an adjective and an adverb, alfresco means to be “in the fresco manner.” So, what that means is “in the open air.” It originates from the Italian meaning, literally, “in the open.”

If you want to give your back patio a tinge of class, call it your alfresco area.

Why it is in the news

Eating in the open air

Malta this past weekend made alfresco dining experiences permissible (given that they did not instead choose to open indoor seating only). Patrons who could no longer stomach their own cooking filled the appropriately spaced seating in Valletta’s many restaurants and cafes. It was a small confirmation that even if a nibble of “normalcy” is available, people will gorge themselves on that nibble. Several other cities and countries globally are allowing the food industry to return to business.

A smattering of restaurant-goers meeting at the end of this typical alley in Valletta.

It was nice to see a capital city alive again, even if all the waiters and waitresses looked like welders with their face shields equipped.

2 thoughts on “Take an oeillade on this overlooked subject-verb disagreement

  1. Pingback: Hi, my noun is John – Oranjetaan.com

  2. Pingback: How to identify this overlooked subject-verb disagreement in writing | Sword Word Creative

Leave a Reply