Tag Archive for Anu Garg

Thoughts on “A.Word.A.Day”

Previously I’ve plugged Anu Garg’s most excellent email subscriber service, A.Word.A.Day. Sign up and every day you get an email that takes about 15 seconds to read. Some days I click delete, most days I don’t.

Today’s word is “excoriate.”

verb tr.:
1. To severely criticize someone or something.
2. To strip off the skin.

Isn’t that great? The way those two meanings dovetail together? How severely criticizing someone is connected to literally stripping off their skin. That’s what it feels like; it’s right there in the root of the word, you idiot!

The email includes pronunciation, meaning, etymology, notes, and usage. Concise, clear, quick. Garg always concludes with “A Thought for Today.”

Today’s thought: “No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country.” — Alexis de Tocqueville, statesman and historian (1805-1859).

Something to ponder in the early morning, the cost of war, and perhaps an inkling to how someone we love might feel when we criticize them. Just for clicking on an email. No wonder why The New York Times called it, “The most welcomed, most enduring piece of daily mass e-mail in cyberspace.”


Weird day yesterday, with Farrah and Michael, two iconic figures closely connected to my childhood. This doesn’t make me feel old, exactly, but something akin to it. Mortal?

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This week’s theme with A.Word.A.Day is Americanisms. What a fun bunch of words: hornswoggle, flummadiddle, discombobulate, absquatulate, and skedaddle.

As Anu Garg wrote when he kicked off the week:

“Use these words to bring a certain earthy flavor to your discourse. But like spices in a preparation, a little goes a long way. Use them judiciously.”

Again, I plugged this site a while back. Only because I love it. If you like words, if you are a reader, then you must subscribe (resistance is futile). It’s that simple. The thing I love about the daily emails is that they are brief, fun, never a chore to read. (For more background on Mr. Garg, check here or here.) I also learned that he’s got actual books available, for adults and kids alike, so I’m thinking Xmas presents, too. Every bathroom should have one!

This holiday season, like every gift-giving occasion, it’s all about going into stores and buying books. Putting our money where our mouths are. And now all the more reason, after Black Wednesday. And go ahead, click on that link if you dare read about the publishing industry’s precipitous fall as delineated by Andrew Wheeler at The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

A name that somehow brings us full circle, in a meandering, bloggish sort of way. For though Hornswoggler sounds to me like an Americanism — I can hear Yosemite Sam saying it, sputteringly — it was, I believe, used most famously by Roald Dahl, English author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory . As everybody knows, Hornswogglers are nasty creatures from Loompaland that threaten the very existence of our beloved Oompa Loompas. Heaven forfend!