Homophones, homonyms: a lot vs allot

The tutor brings up another pair of homonyms, homophones, or what you like to call them….

a lot:  many.  We had a lot of problems producing the film.

allot:  allocate.  We will allot five graph sheets to each student for the exercise.

To my knowledge, alot is not a word; the spell checker doesn’t even tolerate it:)

Source:

Merriam-Webster. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English: qualmish

Tutoring English, one never gets tired of words. The tutor shares a find.

Commonly put:

I have my qualms about going to that party.

Possibly also said:

I’m qualmish about going to that party.

Source:

Merriam-Webster. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English: the meaning(s) of replace

Tutoring English, you constantly think about words. The tutor shares an idea about the word replace.

We all know the typical meaning of the word replace:

replace: to substitute a thing with another of similar appearance or use

Let’s focus, for a moment, on the literal meaning of re-place. To do so, we consider the definition of the verb place:

place: to put or set in an appropriate position: he placed the pitcher in the centre of the table.

By the meaning of the verb place, can’t replace mean the following?

replace: to put or set again in an appropriate position

An example of my literal meaning of the word replace is as follows:

After watering one quadrant of the lawn for half an hour, he replaced the sprinkler in an adjacent quadrant.

Makes sense, no?

Neither dictionary I consulted offers my opinion:)

Source:

Merriam-Webster. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Gilmour, Lorna (ed.) Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary & Thesaurus. Glasgow: HarperCollins, 2006.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English, Latin: what does sub rosa mean?

Tutoring English, I constantly await new vocabulary discoveries. The tutor shares the meaning of sub rosa.

sub rosa: (adverb) covertly; secretly

Sub rosa, in Latin, has the literal meaning “under the rose.” Roses carried the implication of confidentiality even in ancient times; a room might be stocked with roses before a meeting to remind attendees not to share what’s said there.

Source:

Gilmour, Lorna (editor). Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary & Thesaurus. Glasgow: HarperCollins, 2006.

www.merriam-webster.com

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English: what does paucity mean?

Tutoring English, vocabulary is a perennial theme. The tutor mentions paucity.

Paucity refers to a situation in which the quantity or number of an item is small, likely smaller than expected.

Due to the paucity of cream in the fridge, we made tomato sauce [for the pasta] rather than cream sauce.

HTH:)

Source:

Merriam-Webster. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Gilmour, Laura (ed). Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary and Thesaurus. Glasgow: HarperCollins, 2006.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English: what are ephemera?

Tutoring English, you always like to encounter new words. The tutor brings up the word ephemera.

If something is short-lived, it’s ephemeral.

Ephemera are items – for example, flyers or tickets – that quickly lose their relevance. Some people collect them, however.

Source:

Merriam-Webster. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Katherine Barber, Heather Fitzgerald et al. Oxford Canadian Dictionary of Current English. Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English: what is a naïf?

Tutoring English, less common words based on familiar ones are always interesting. The tutor brings up the word naïf.

Of course, naïve means innocently unaware of facts or ideas known to surrounding people. Not surprisingly follows the definition of naïf:

naïf: a person who is naïve

Source:

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: yearbooks

Having kids in school, you’re constantly receiving tutoring about our evolving culture. The tutor makes an observation.

As a kid, I got some yearbooks, one of which I think I still have.

Back then, the yearbooks had pictures, but also articles: there were reflective pieces, as well as poetry. Perhaps there was a commentary from each grade, as well as from the band and each sports team. A member from each, acting as spokesperson, would write about the challenges, as well as the highlights, experienced by the group that year.

The pictures, back then, were great, but probably not what we have today. With high-quality images (from phones, etc) so plentiful, people prefer to tell stories with pictures rather than words.

I’d say that, while a picture can be worth a thousand words, pictures can’t always tell the whole story. However, that’s from an older generation’s point of view. Perhaps I’ll have to learn to derive more information from the pictures.

Cheers,

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English: the words occlude and occlusion

Tutoring English, vocabulary is always of interest. The tutor brings up the words occlude and occlusion.

Occlude means to obstruct, so an occlusion is an obstruction. You might argue, for instance, that during an eclipse, the moon occludes light from reaching Earth. The moon, in that case, is an occlusion.

Merriam-Webster, however, expands on the definition of occlude, suggesting it also means to unite, as would two surfaces brought together (the example given is sets of teeth). From that point of view, the door edge and the door seal occlude, forming an occlusion that keeps water from leaking in.

Source:

Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English: the word notional

Tutoring English, I’m always looking for new words. The tutor brings up notional.

If a notion is an idea, then notional should relate somehow to one. In fact:

notional: existing only as an idea; imaginary

Notional can also describe someone who believes fantasy is real.

I’ve never heard the word used:)

Source:

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.