words, words, words (10)

Today’s words are from a variety of sources and there is no rhyme or reason to their grouping. I’ve just had them hanging around for awhile and it seemed like time to release them to the blogosphere.

Pollarding. While in San Franciso for Thanksgiving, we saw blocks and blocks of gnarled trees that didn’t resemble anything we see in the Midwest. It turns out their unusual look is due more to the way they are trimmed, called pollarding, rather than the type of tree. Here’s a good definition from Wild Willow Landscape Design: “Pollarding is a tree pruning technique that develops a framework of bare scaffold branches with a gnarly knob at the end of each branch.” See also The Quirky Appeal of Pollarding, an older article that is still relevant.

Aposiopesis. Some words are best defined by an example. The Three Stooges are known for “Why, I oughta…” without finishing the sentence. That’s an aposiopesis, “a sudden breaking off in the midst of a sentence, as if from inability or unwillingness to proceed.” I never knew this literary device had an actual name.

Mendacity / Mendacious. The rise in popularity of mendacity and mendacious can be directly attributed to the current political climate. Google defines the noun mendacity  as “untruthful” and the adjective mendacious as “not telling the truth; lying.” Now, see if you can read the newspaper or listen to a news broadcast without hearing one of the two (or both).


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