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gooseliver - This used to be a perfectly good word for liverwurst, braunschweiger, liver sausage, etc. This popular lunch meat does taste much like the expensive "pate' de foie gras" -- paste made from geese's livers.

e.g., I like mustard on my gooseliver sandwich.

submitted by Paul EDIC - (www)

gooses - More than one goose, makes sense with modern English.

e.g., The gooses were waddling along the path.

submitted by margorie - (www)

goosley - Descriptive of the feeling in your mouth when you bite on one of those fatty, soft connective tissue blobs in moist cooked meat.

e.g., I dread her pot roast because she uses chuck, slow-cooked at a low temperature, and it's always goosley.

submitted by SassyLee - (www)

goot - 1. Dreamlike | mystical. 2. Fool.

e.g., 1. The clouds look very goot like in this picture. 2. Stop gooting around.

submitted by leah cannon - (www)

gootalious - The word to describe the residue left in the bottom of a milk carton.

e.g., The carton had gootalious dwelling upon the bottom.

submitted by Matt

goowah - Gross, nasty.

e.g., What's that goowah stuff on your shoe?

submitted by Tara

gooz - good

e.g., the salami was real gooz! ;)

submitted by jerk

goozally - Gross and slimy.

e.g., Mom's spaghetti is always goozally.

submitted by Ashes

goozle - Overabundance

e.g., Bill Gates has a goozle of money.

submitted by Tom

goozle - southern slang for adams apple found in throat.

e.g., He got hit in the goozle.

submitted by Dave

goppin', gopping - Ugly, with a face like a crushed turnip. Often caked in beige foundation in a futile attempt to hide it.

e.g., Ugh, Diane. Your brother's plain goppin'.

submitted by dan - (www)

gorange - A really disgusting beverage, like the stuff in the bottom of a beer can. Useful--it rhymes with orange.

e.g., Yuck! Can't you walk around the gorange, not go through the middle.

submitted by Elin

gorch - A really old porch that is falling apart.

e.g., Last week my uncle fell through the old gorch.

submitted by Brandon Ducharme

gordian - (GORE-dee-un; adj.) 1. Hopelessly complicated, convoluted, or confusing; 2. ALMOST Hopelessly complicated, convoluted, or confusing; 3. (loosely) Extremely difficult either to understand (if concepts) or to do (if actions).  
 
(From the Gordian knot of ancient Greek history: An insoluble knot used by a man named Midas [no, a different Midas] to tie his father's ox-cart to a post. His father's name was Gordias (and probably still is). Depending upon which story you've heard, only he who was destined to rule the world (or just Asia Minor) could untie it. Alexander the Great---as intense a combonologist as a strategist---simply cut the thing with his sword. See "Anagordian." .... Current scholarship, btw, suggests that Alexander was actually not attempting to fulfill any prophecies (indeed, the prophecies, says modern research, appear to have been invented and interpolated into the story some time long after the event, but was, instead, trying to discover the knot's structure (much more like the ardent student of Aristotle he was than the sly conqueror the popular stories make him out to be). Some histories suggest that Alexander didn't even cut the knot at all, but chopped away the cart and hitching post, sliding the knot off the wood to expose the ends of the bark-fiber cord with which the knot had been tied, so that he could unravel this marvel of knotted-ness.)

e.g., "So, whose flashbacks were the true ones? The bald terrorist? The chick with the Mohawk? The dead oil-well worker? or Captain Studly Sunglasses?" "Well, none of them is completely true, and none is completely false." "So this was a ten-dollar, two-and-a-half-hour lesson in points of view?!" "Yes. Yes, that's it exactly!" "Well, the lesson was lost on me: That film is more Gordian than the Congressional Record."

submitted by Scott M. Ellsworth

gore merchant - This term has two meanings. The first is a death metal band in the vein of Cannibal Corpse, Carcass, or the Berzerker, and the second is a fan of splatter style horror films.

e.g., Watching the _Texas Chainsaw Massacre_ again, Tony? You're a gore merchant if ever there was one.

submitted by Xnoybis

gorenje - The look that comes across your face when you put your foot into your shoe only to find something unexpected and typically (but not always) scary already in there. Most notable however for it's ability to rhyme with "orange."

e.g., Did you see on Chris' face
The sweet and startling gorenje,
Where within her shoe was found
By her toes a moldy orange?

submitted by Steve Zihlavsky

gorenography - Material (print, media, online or otherwise) that presents images of real and graphic death and mutilation.

e.g., Websites like rotten.com and stileproject.com are examples of gorenography.

submitted by Andrew Babb - (www)

gorg - Anyone who works in a corporate IT department. Usually large creatures with buggy eyes and surly attitudes. From the giant puppet on _Fraggle Rock_.

e.g., If you can't get your sound card to work, call up one of the gorgs to help you.

submitted by Sam Spade

gorgacious - Of something that is both gorgeous and bodacious.

e.g., The weather outside is gorgacious.

submitted by aguynamededdy - (www)

gorgeful - A mix of "beautful" and "gorgeous" (spoken by my 4 yr old daughter while looking at the moon).

e.g., Oh, Mama, isn't the moon gorgeful tonight?

submitted by sandra - (www)

gorgeoisie - A class of people who are gorgeous, often shunning people who are not looking quite as good at the time.

e.g., "How do I look in this new outfit?" "You, my dear, are a member of the elite gorgeoisie."

submitted by John Burton - (www)

gorgeousness and gorgeousity - For something that is visually perfect.

e.g., The sunset was just gorgeousness and gorgeousity, filled with reds and purples.

submitted by SilverMaiden - (www)

gorgertar - A way to decribe how you're feeling--gorgeous.

e.g., "How are you today?" "I'm gorgertar, thanks."

submitted by Laura

gorgonzoloid - Containing a profusion of Gorgonzola.

e.g., My four cheese pizza last night was particularly gorgonzoloid.

submitted by Dave Widdicombe

gorilla-beat - To beat something or someone savagely. (As in the old Samsonite commercial when the luggage is thrown in a cage with a gorilla)

e.g., If you drink one more of my Peppers, I'm gonna gorilla-beat you.

submitted by Ken Dicke

gork - A person, typically male, exhibiting the worst character traits of both a geek and a dork.

e.g., The guy who wrote that program must be a real gork.

submitted by Schmengus McGillicutty

gorked - Unknown mental status or acronym for God Only Really Knows.

e.g., That head trauma patient is way GORKed.

submitted by chris

gorkmeister - A person who is a comination of a geek and a dork (gork) who is the follower, and basic servant of a higher gork.

e.g., Have you noticed what a gorkmeister Phillip has become since he began hanging out with Trey?

submitted by Brnadon Ducharme

gorman - A technique for doing efficient partition exchanges in Oracle databases, named for expert Tim Gorman. The humor is, people who use the word have to explain what it means 100% of the time.

e.g., For a partitioned table just copying the problem partition and doing a gorman is probably the cheapest way to fix the problem.

submitted by joel garry - (www)

gormley's castle - Cumbrian (NW England: Lake District, Beatrix Potter country) dialect word for the more usual "in the clouds," "cloud cuckoo land," etc. The word originates from the 16th century Baron Philippe de Gormley of Wigton in Cumbria who always had grand schemes but they never came off. Indeed, the magnificent castle that he wanted to build is still just a mound of rock and stone in Wigton High Street as just after he started construction he lost all his money gambling with the notorious Sir Melvyne de Bragge of Ambleside.

e.g., Bryn's idea will never catch on -- he's living in Gormley's Castle, that one. | If you think that people are going to pay £20 for a cup of tea you may as well visit Gormley's Castle.

submitted by David Ford

gorny - Horny as a goat.

e.g., You like that guy? Don't you realize he's gorny.

submitted by Scubin - (www)

gorow - Wrong.

e.g., "Is it true that the earth rotates around the moon?" "No, that is gorow."

submitted by lauryn - (www)

gorp - A term for any sort of food that tastes really good but you don't know the name of it.

e.g., Have you tried Mom's gorp. It's delicious.

submitted by Brandon Ducharme

gorpulent - The state of being overweight and large of body as a consequence of ingesting large quantities of trail mix.

e.g., If you'd pick more wild berries and select some of those healthy natural foods found out in the wild, you wouldn't huff and puff quite as much on our mountain trail hikes. Eating those extra big bags of Good Old Raisins and Peanuts has made you gorpulent, old pal!

submitted by Charlie Lesko

gorpy - Dorky, stupid.

e.g., Oh, my God. . . . Look at that gorpy haircut on Chris.

submitted by Bob182

gorram - Bastardisation of Goddamn typically used when describing a person or organisation, as seen in .

e.g., Keep your gorram hands offa me.

submitted by Morgan

gorril - A gorril is a hirsute shambling person bearing a resemblance to a great ape.

e.g., Colin watched with fascination and ill-concealed amusement David's gorril-like attempt to don his coat.

submitted by david flett

gorrilla cuts - Out in the middle of nowhere.

e.g., Where do I live? I live in the gorrilla cuts near Kelly Lane.

submitted by Timothy Clay

gorse - Semi-violent basketball game played exactly like HORSE with one exception: when you get a letter you also get punched by the other player.

e.g., He proudly wore a black and blue bruise on his arm from yesterday's GORSE game.

submitted by Drew Richardson

gorsel'd - This is what a worm does inside an apple that is being baked in an oven. While there is some shrinking, the most noticeable thing is writhing, squirming. twisting. If you put a worm in a cup in the oven, that is what you would see as it heats up. Also spelled "gorsulled."

e.g., As the oven heated up, the worm gorsel'd and gorsel'd.

submitted by SassyLee

gorsplagular - The definitive term for awesomeness.

e.g., Your wheels are gorsplagular. Truck's not bad either.

submitted by Matty D

goshdangpotatowedge - It's an expression to use when you are annoyed about something or can't think of the word to say.

e.g., "We're gonna be late for class." "Ohhh, goshdangpotatowedge!"

submitted by LeeNi

gossipel - Catty talk about others behind their backs, spoken with an air of moral authority. Combination of "gossip" and "gospel."

e.g., Some took Hedda Hopper's Hollywood society columns as gossipel.

submitted by lookout

gossipsist - A gossip columnist. From Time, April 7, 1930.

e.g., "One of his best friends is Walter ('Vulture') Winchell, gossipist of the New York Mirror, who writes his blurbs only with a heavy-leaded Variety pencil."

submitted by HD Fowler

gossipsize - To downsize by spreading gossip about an individual. "Spreading slanderous gossip about an employee until she's compelled to quit."

e.g., I've noticed that crowd around the water cooler several mornings in a row now. Who do you suppose they're gossipsizing about?

submitted by Scott Adams]

gosu - Adj, to be very good at something, to be elite.

e.g., The gosu Starcraft player was able to build a hundred hydralisks in less than seven minutes.

submitted by Jeff

got - Past tense and past participle of get. If you're from the South, you can't talk long without saying got.

e.g., Got milk? | Can't help myself, I got it bad for the girl. | Got any spare change? | I got sunburned so bad cutting the grass I couldn't stand to wear a shirt for almost a week. | Pedey ate his way through his cage's chicken wire and got loose. I'm sure it was because he wanted to get some from a girl squirrel.

submitted by HD Fowler - (www)

got dandruff! some of it itches. - Non-vulgar expletive that kinda resembles a vulgar expletive.

e.g., When you stub your toe and you are letting it out, but notice two 4-year olds staring at you, you then yell, "Got dandruff! Some of it itches!"

submitted by That Hated Guy

got ilk? - Interrogative statement, basically meaning, "Do you have what it takes to belong?"

e.g., Katrine: I'd really like to try out for the rowing team this year. Milli: Got ilk?

submitted by Paul

gotamollie - God almighty. Oh, wow.

e.g., Gotamollie. There's ten dollars on the ground.

submitted by Sue Fagan

gotch - Children's slang for boys' underwear. Used regionally in Manitoba, Canada.

e.g., Gordon's got new plaid gotch.

submitted by Gordon Reid - (www)

gotcha - Getting someone to look at your crotch or breast area by pointing at them.

e.g., Any one who went to Milton Hershey knows what GOTCHA is.

submitted by Mary MHS

gotcha moment - The moment when you are without any doubt completely bested by your opponent. Made famous recently during the Microsoft antitrust trial.

e.g., The gotcha moment came when Dubois silently laid the e-mail evidence before a silent Bill Gates.

submitted by L. H. Markwell - (www)

gotchyoffer - An offer, usually too good to be true, made on the internet -- non-existent in reality.

e.g., The free cellular phone turned out to be a gotchyoffer.

submitted by Paul Dobbins

goth - Derived from Gothic. Refers to an object that has a psycho, scary appearance. If in referance to a person, the person will be dressed in black, and listen to grunge music--and may worship Satan.s.

e.g., Ralph is out walking his pet alfafa bean. He sees a guy walking around wearing black robes, with long black hair. Ralph: What a goth! Alfalfa bean: Yeah, I reckon.

submitted by Sammmy

goth points - The ratings by which a Goth is measured for her gothiness.

e.g., Janet lost 10 Goth Points for smiling at the door guy at the club.

submitted by eanya

gothism - A belief, made especially popular in the late 20th century, that openness when dealing with depression contributes something valuable to the public.

e.g., Trent Reznor was a forefather of gothism because his music was famous for dealing with issues relating to depression.

submitted by Benjamin Nelson - (www)

gothobee - A unique and precise state that has no equal and leaves no room for error.

e.g., Look, I told you can't do it like that. Its a gothobee.

submitted by Sid

gotholic - A Goth who is also a Catholic. Rare, but they do happen (especially if their particular congregation is fairly liberal).

e.g., Mandy: Missy isn't coming to the club tonight... she's going to mass instead. Sandy: Really? Mandy: Yeah, she's a Gotholic.

submitted by Arin

gothwalk - A form of dance popular among goths, also known as the two-step. It consists of stepping two steps forward, and two back, repeatedly and slightly off the beat. Swaying and hand movements optional.

e.g., The gothwalk is the simplest of the standard Gothic dances.

submitted by Drew Shiel

gotsta - Something you simply have to do -- whether you want to or not.

e.g., I gotsta go to skool now so I can lern how to spel betr. See ya.

submitted by John N.

gotta - Got to. When you hear a speaker on television say "gotta," if you have a captions feature turned on, you're very likely to read "got to." The spoken word: gotta; the written word: got to. | Sometimes: have a.

e.g., You hear the speaker say, "If you're going to give yourself the best chance of being successful, you've gotta have confidence in yourself." You read the speaker as saying, "If you're (or 'you are') going to give yourself the best chance of being successful, you've (or 'you have') got to have confidence in yourself." (ED. Of course, if you start with the written word, you might choose to write this instead: "To give yourself the best chance of being successful, you must have confidence in yourself.") | "I gotta big ol' zit, so I'm not leaving the house tonight." "You may need to hole up for a week, Chris."

submitted by HD Fowler - (www)

gottwatha - Two-year-old's word for grandmother.

e.g., Gottwatha gave it to me.

submitted by John Booth, Jr.

gouch - Pronounced like "couch." Any generic red, sometimes painful rash on the skin. Commonly used by idiots who don't know what gout is, nor know how to pronounce it if they did.

e.g., I woke up this morning with a case of gouch on my arm. I can move it, but it stings to touch it.

submitted by Bill

goulie - A rock greater than one foot in diameter.

e.g., Don't trip over that goulie.

submitted by Eric Thiesburger - (www)

govil - An action that is called both good and evil. E.g., one group calls an action good (for them) and another group calls the same action evil (for them). Many of the happenings around the world in everyday life can be described as govil. ORIGIN OF WORD…….The word govil is formed from parts of the words God and Devil, and also from parts of the words Good and Evil.

e.g., His firing was a govil act. (Good for the boss, evil for him and his family.)

submitted by Adrian R. Lawler

govvo - Youth allowance payments for students.

e.g., Adam. I've got no money at all. Ryan. Nah, I'm cashed up. Thank you govvo.

submitted by grilla

gow - To eat with too much gusto. To stuff one's face. Thought to be related to gag and chow.

e.g., We were starving. We gowed down that chicken 'til we choked.

submitted by Jim Dacayanan

gowitelle - A made-up word.

e.g., I just added a lot of cool gowitelles to a website called pseudodictionary.

submitted by paws

goyfriend - Christian boyfriend. "Goy" is a derogatory word for Christians used by Jews.

e.g., Christine accidentally hit on her sister's goyfriend.

submitted by HD Fowler

gozillion - The amount of money someone owes you for doing a favor which is not always in your own or his best interest. Actual amount somewhere near 2128.

e.g., If I give you the answer, you owe me a gozillion dollars.

submitted by Darwin

gozinter - Refers to the pot or jar into which all your odds and ends, spare change, etc. "goes in ter." WWII Royal Air Force slang, still used by me today.

e.g., A single paper clip? Just put it in the gozinter.

submitted by micheil

gpneumatic - Pneumatic, the g is silent. Pneumatics.

e.g., Sorry, you'll have to bring your computer back tomorrow. Our gpneumatic drill repair guy is out sick today.

submitted by HD Fowler

gps - someone who really likes to give driving directions. (after Global Positioning System)

e.g., She wants to know how to get here? Give her to John, he's the GPS.

submitted by dina

gps-pda-whatever - Devices used by geeks for purposes that only they understand. Those who have never used a GameBoy or cell phone should not attempt to use these devices.

e.g., When sailing in the bay, Greg studied his GPS-PDA-whatever, but his confused expression revealed that he is not the geek that he aspires to be.

submitted by greg foster

grab the shovel! - A phrase you say to someone you're with when the two (or more) of you are just about to be caught doing something you aren't supposed to be doing...knowing that you're gonna have to dig yourself out of it.

e.g., Lauryn is copying Nicky's 100 point chem assignment as Mr. Pav walks in the room. Nicky says: "Lauryn, grab the shovel!"

submitted by Nicky Ubben

grabamoco - Tissue, handkerchief

e.g., She blew her nose on the grabamoco and threw it on the table.

submitted by Carmen

grabfidget - (v) To pick up small items and play with them in a pointless and annoying way.

e.g., Stop grabfidgeting. Leave the stuff on the table alone.

submitted by Lee

grabilicious - Greedy, always takin' your stuff.

e.g., Gloria was always takin' my makeup outa my purse an' usin' it without askin' because she's just grabilicious.

submitted by Fred Harth

grabotologist - I'm not sure if this is a word. There is a quiz at work asking: What is a grabotologist? I can't find anything on the internet about it. Can someone please help. (ED. A grabotologist is one who practices grabotology, the study of Norman Grabowski and his works.)

e.g., I'm not sure Mel is a grabotologist, but he's certainly a fan and a friend.

submitted by Brent - (www)

gracile - A real word meaning gracefully slender. Slender; thin. I'm adding this word not only because it's new to me, but also because of the way I saw it used.

e.g., "In physique, a bonobo is as different from a chimpanzee as a Concorde is from a Boeing 747. I do not wish to offend any chimpanzees, but bonobos have more style. The bonobo, with its long legs and small head atop narrow shoulders, has a more gracile build than does a chimpanzee. Bonobo lips are reddish in a black face, the ears small and the nostrils almost as wide as a gorilla's. These primates also have a flatter, more open face with a higher forehead than the chimpanzee's and -- to top it all off -- an attractive coiffure with long, fine, black hair neatly parted in the middle." | "Yes, some men might find Michelle somewhat attractive -- in a gracile, bonobo-ish way." "Dude, you better take another look. Michelle's the 747, not the Concorde. Not only is she a multi-tattooed bottle blonde, she's not at all graceful, much less slender. She reminds me of the girl I met on a blind date whose name I can't remember, so I refer to her as 'The Linebacker.'"

submitted by HD Fowler - (www)

graddoo - Gross, icky stuff that may or may not be organic. Always disgusting, usually unidentifiable.

e.g., Since Harold never once cleaned his bathroom, there was some really wierd graddoo growing up the side of his shower curtain.

submitted by Cj Critt

gradely - Good, or fair. Lancashire colloquialism.

e.g., Steve was a gradely sort of fellow, even if he did work for a large multinational mobile phone company.

submitted by Graham Roberts

gradetwoyearold - A foolish person either acting two years old or acting like she's in grade two.

e.g., That guy is a gradetwoyearold.

submitted by B

gradgiate - To get a college diploma without learning to spell.

e.g., He gradgiated last June, but can barely spell his own name.

submitted by Steve McDonald

gradidude - A graduate who's very grateful to (finally) be graduating; or, whose parents or others are (also) very grateful he's graduating.

e.g., The entire hamlet erupted with joy and celebration when Rollie came home from school for the last time, a happy gradidude. Tacos and frijoles for everyone.

submitted by Paul Edic - (www)

gradoo - Anything disgustingly nasty, especially the accumulation of dust, food, etc. that builds up on top of the refrigerator.

e.g., Paul, I did the dishes, it's your turn to clean up the gradoo on the fridge.

submitted by Scott Lattimore

gradu - Dirt or crud.

e.g., I had to clean all the gradu out of the barbeque pit from last summer.

submitted by Katie D.

graduate of the school of the ... - A term used to describe someone who says exactly what everyone and their brothers are thinking, yet feels she is the only one attuned to the knowledge.

e.g., John Madden: Well, the quarterback either has to throw the ball or hand it off to avoid being sacked by the other team. The world at large: This guy must be a graduate of the school of the bleedin' obvious. Perhaps even the perfesser.

submitted by Larry C.

graduate stridents - Stridently liberal graduate students who indoctrinate more than teach their charges in first and second year college courses.

e.g., The graduate strident who taught one of my freshman history courses in college was probably no older than I was. I was already in graduate school myself when I finally got around to taking Western Civ.

submitted by HD Fowler

graduation present - A special little gift your girlfriend finally gives you on graduation night.

e.g., What a night. She gave me the graduation present I wanted the most.

submitted by Steve McDonald

graduit - Grä-dôô´,n. Used to describe build-up on various surfaces; usually oil-based and often found in kitchens or restaurants. Graduitous, adj. Used to describe an object that has graduit on it.

e.g., Could you please clean the graduit off the side of the oven? That oven sure is looking graduitous.

submitted by Galley - (www)

gradumatate - To be graduated from college with little effort and flying colors. Usually with a communications or kinesiology degree.

e.g., Bill screwed up the company payroll--again. But then again, he did gradumatate from college.

submitted by converge

graduwaitress - A college graduate who is forced by poor economic times to work in the food service industry.

e.g., Sara, after four years of computer science study and faced with a poor economy, found herself working as the third graduwaitress on staff at the Sankofa Restaurant.

submitted by Mark Howell - (www)

graf - Journalist slang for "paragraph."

e.g., The lede is nice, but by the third graf things start to slow down. From Ken Layne's warblog.

submitted by Slithy Tove - (www)

grafeetie - Counterculture drawings and slogans on urban community spaces rendered by artists who are skilled in applying paint with their toes.

e.g., Jass is a tiny, black, cross-eyed city kid and not much to look at. But, on the streets, when he goes by with his orange Nikes and purple sox, all the dudes in the gangs smile -- he's a number one home boy. Jass walks tall as a grafeetie artist of much renown.

submitted by Charlie Lesko

grahamazingly - Originally from Stop and Shop Chocolate Graham crackers, to describe their combination of being filled with Grahamy goodness, and also amazingly good. Can also used to describe anything beyond amazing.

e.g., Those crackers are Grahamazingly good.

submitted by Tristan

gralm - Between a grope and a palm of a person's body.

e.g., He gralmed her buttocks.

submitted by Kathryn Lee - (www)

grammar czar -

Neither an ordinary grammar nazi or nor a grammar snob, a the grammar czar is an the authority on all points of English usage for the PseudoDictionary: capitalization, diction, etymology, grammar, language history, lexicography, literature, poetics, pronunciation, punctuation, rhetoric, semantics, spelling, style, syntax, usage . . . you name it™. Why? Because she says so, that's why. And you do not argue with the grammar czar. Even ytpography conventions? Now that you mention it, sure, why not?  

After all, the grammar czar herself uses idiosyncratic extra spaces around em dashes. Depending on her mood, she'll tell you she does it because she thinks it's easier on the eyes, because it helps distinguish dashes from hyphens, or because she thinks it looks prettier. The grammar czar can get real big on pretty at times. Did you catch that, grammar nazis and grammar snobs? No point in getting on the grammar czar's case. She does as she damn well pleases. She makes the rules and she won't hesitate to break them, certainly not if she's trying to make her point that breaking the rules can be fine if you know you're doing it and have a good reason for doing so. You can do the same. Of course, you may be wrong in that your readers may not care for your choice. If you're worried about that, why are you revealing your writing to perfect imperfect strangers? If you want your readers to be kind to you, stick to friends and family. Just don't get pissed off at them when they're not kind either. They won't be.  

The grammar czar -- no, better make the initial characters capitals (perhaps all small caps?) from now on -- The Grammar Czar (TGC) knows no bounds for the powers she assumes.  

Yes, TGC is a female -- namely me, Lillith Ms. Lillith Miss Lillith. Yeh, that's the ticket, Miss Lillith. You can forget that sexist czarina poppycock. And you can forget the alternative spelling tsar, too. That lacks the strong sound I want my title to have.  

Wouldn't it be ridiculous to continue to refer to The Grammar Czar in the editorial third person now that the cat's out of the bag that I'm The Grammar Czar, stripped of all pretense of being omnipotent? With that revealed, I'm no longer the wizard, just the man woman behind the curtain.  

What distinguishes her me from your run-of-the-mill grammar nazi is that she has I have absolutely no background, credentials, or research to back up my opinions. Hmm, perhaps that's not a distinguishing feature after all? . . .  

Correction: I do have almost five years experience posting on internet message boards. That gives me enough experience with an I'm-not-listening-I-know-everything-I'm-always-right argumentation style that I'm confident I can pull this off. I've also read enough results-oriented-end-justifies-the-means Supreme Court opinions, concurrences, and dissents to know how to get around or ignore points that work against my mine.
 

 
HD's addendum.  
 
Except for a bit of arbitrariness and idiosyncracies, I usually follow The Chicago Manual of Style. I try not to be capricious, but may not always be successful. That's the way it is with geezers (US usage) who can't maintain their focus.  
 
I follow the American ytpographer's practice for placement of punctuation marks relative to both single and double quotation marks: commas and periods go inside, always with rare exceptions, even though the logical place for a closing comma or period may be outside. Why? Because I like the symmetry of the American practice.  
 
I use doubled quotation marks for "scare quotes" for single words, as well as for direct quotations of multiple words. I'm not saying I won't change your use of left and right [curly] quote marks to double marks for single words, your use, but I'll make at least a modest effort not to do so.  
 
If I maintain my focus, I'm particular about using a space on either side of a dash, whether doubled hyphens ( –– ) or a ytpographer's em dash ( — ). When I took typing in high school, I was taught to use either « – » or «––», the latter without spaces, for a dash. I prefer the look of a space on either side of the punctuation mark -- which is definitely not Chicago Style.  
 
I somewhat facetiously refer to my arbitrary and idiosyncratic style as Fowler Language or Fowler Style on the Submit Page. Doing what I do for submittals to your input is what I intended to alert you to in my first e-mail: I can be a nitpicker when it comes to making things look right to my eye and sound right to my ear. I've been known to edit my own writing dozens of times before being satisfied. I'm not quite like Flaubert when it comes to finding le mot juste, but I can certainly come close.  
 
Chances are that I use many, many more commas than you do. That's because it's unusual for a comma to decrease clarity, although a comma can impede the flow of words. So do parenthetical comments -- whether indicated by commas, dashes, or parentheses. Sometimes, however, the parenthetical remarks are needed to clarify or explain.

e.g.,

Seriously, though, most of the time the grammar czar will find a respected authority who sees things the way she does and will quote a snippet of text that embodies what she wills to be the canonical rule to follow. She will not necessarily agree with the pre-dominant view, but that is by far the most likely outcome.

It's all about the rules, tools. . . . Oh, and it's all about the links, too.  
 
Note: For simplicity, and based on the assumption that readers will click on the hyperlinks to find out more about the usage or other usages, the source of quoted material is not spelled out with a formal copyright notice. A second assumption is that the quoted snippets are legal under fair use provisions of copyright law. Any copyright holder who objects to the use of her material should send an e-mail to my the bossman, H.D. Fowler  
 
Helen Moody (Miss Grammar):

The Case of the Serial Comma

The Mystery Solved | A Puzzle Remains | The Wrong "Wrong Rule" | The Authorities Speak! | The Letters


The Mystery Solved

 

Dear Readers,  

Many thanks to all who responded to my plea for help in tracing the origin of the Wrong Rule about omitting the final comma in a series ("red, white and blue" instead of "red, white, and blue"). Your letters and my further research have revealed this: The only authorities who advocate omitting the final comma are newspaper style guides (which wish to save column space) and some English writers (who waffle on the rule).  

My original assertion stands, with minor qualifications: Except for journalists, all American authorities say to use the final serial comma: "He went to the store to buy milk, butter, and eggs."  

The reason for the final serial comma is to prevent the last 2 items' being confused as a unit (butter-and-eggs).
 
 
Rules for Comma Usage Use a comma to separate the elements in a series (three or more things), including the last two. "He hit the ball, dropped the bat, and ran to first base." You may have learned that the comma before the "and" is unnecessary, which is fine if you're in control of things. However, there are situations in which, if you don't use this comma (especially when the list is complex or lengthy), these last two items in the list will try to glom together (like macaroni and cheese). Using a comma between all the items in a series, including the last two, avoids this problem. This last comma — the one between the word "and" and the preceding word — is often called the serial comma or the Oxford comma. In newspaper writing, incidentally, you will seldom find a serial comma, but that is not necessarily a sign that it should be omitted in academic prose.
March 1997 | Thoroughly Modern Burchfield | by John Simon

The new, third edition of Fowler’s Modern English Usage[1] is out, ta-rah, ta-rah! It was edited by Robert Burchfield, a New Zealander and Oxford don, author of numerous books on the English language and editor-in-chief of the venerable—if not sacrosanct—Oxford English Dictionary, second edition. As editor also of the Cambridge History of the English Language, Burchfield made himself a true citizen of Oxbridge. But an ox bridge can be no better than a pons asinorum.  

Besides giving full due to American English and looking into other Englishes, F3— as I shall call it with a bow to Auden and Isherwood’s The Ascent of F6, a similarly daring enterprise in scaling the heights— boasts many other new features. H. W. Fowler’s F1, born a year after me in 1926, predates my linguistic interests. F2, from 1965, was a light revision by Sir Ernest Gowers, a user-friendly volume of 725 duodecimo pages, and much easier to handle than the current 864 octavo ones. It was also decently modest. It did not, like F3, proclaim itself on the jacket “The acknowledged authority on English usage,” the sort of self-advertisement worthy of Norman Mailer. And F3, of course, has a much jazzier jacket altogether.  

It must be faced right off that Burchfield is essentially, though not entirely, of the descriptive rather than prescriptive school of language savants. Although he bridles at some usages, he is also astoundingly tolerant of others. About of a—as in “how big of a house?”—he writes that it “may possibly be a slowly evolving extension of a much older” usage; about comprised of, he notes that “opposition to this … construction is … weakening.” It seems that “only elderly eyebrows are now raised” at finalize; passive defeatism is the order of the day: “We may rail against the loss of a useful distinction [between amount and number]— and I do—but can it be stopped now?”  

There are times, though, when Burchfield is simply wrong—seduced, perhaps, by permissiveness. Under machismo, for instance, he accepts a secondary pronunciation with a k (mack-), as if the word were Italian in origin rather than Spanish, where “ch” is always pronounced as in Charles. I have no idea why he prefers e pur si muove for Galileo’s eppur etc., as it is always given. Under marvellous, he tells us “usu. marvelous in AmE,” though I have yet to meet an American unusu. enough to stick in that second, British l. Burchfield writes: “Off of is still strongly present in the language of the less well educated but is indisputably non-standard in Britain.” It is just as non-standard in polite America; and what is that “still” doing there? In fact, off of, which was virtually unknown in America until a couple of decades ago, has now burst out all over, even among college graduates. So; not “still,” but “already,” and “even the educated.”  

Again, Burchfield is categorical about penchant: “still pronounced in a Gallic manner … in English.” Well, it has always been pronounced in an English manner in America, as all dictionaries attest. He writes “de Saussure” for what, without a first name or Monsieur, is “Saussure,” in the Gallic manner. Première, accented on the last syllable, is not the “dominant” pronunciation in America, but the only one. Remonstrate, however it may be pronounced in Britain, is always accented on the penult in America. There is no such thing as rhyme royale: in French, it is rime royale; in English, both British and American, rhyme royal. Pace Burchfield, no civilized person pronounces schism with a k sound. The sentence “Strait-jacket is better so spelt rather than straight-jacket,” should be recast, “Strait-jacket is better so spelt than as straight-jacket.” And so on.  

Though the principal problem with F3 is permissiveness, its second-gravest offense is fuzzy writing and thinking. Take this, under literally, where we are warned about using the word inexactly. “It’s a case,” writes Burchfield, “of ‘stop, look, and think’ before using the word in any manner short of its exact sense.” That strikes me rather like telling someone hefting a gun, Before you shoot to kill, stop to consider whether you’re committing justifiable homicide. Among the suspect examples quoted, two are especially interesting. First, from Nabokov, “And with his eyes he literally scoured the corners of the cell.” Obviously, eyes are less suitable than brushes for literal scouring. But isn’t hyperbole a legitimate trope? Yes, but scouring without the literally is in itself a heightened statement, so that the increment makes it pleonastic. By the way, the date given for the Nabokov quotation is 1960, in which year, according to the Library of America chronology, Nabokov produced nothing that could have contained that sentence.  

The next alleged abuse comes from the Spectator in 1991: “Zagreb believes that Europe is fiddling with face-saving diplomatic measures while Croatia—quite literally— burns.” On the one hand, all of Croatia did not actually burn; on the other, parts of it were burning—literally, I would say, rather than “quite literally,” which is redundant. So the question arises: how literal need literal be to qualify for literalness? Are scattered fires sufficient, or must there be a border-to-border conflagration? To be sure, Burchfield covers his flanks—or some other part of his anatomy—by saying that a few of his examples exhibit merely “a slight movement” in the direction of “the weakened sense” of literally, which strikes me as poor selection of illustrative examples.  

The entry on acquaintanceship begins: “The logical progress of ideas in a sentence occasionally allows this word to slip into print, sometimes when acquaintance would have served instead.” Here confusion hath made its masterpiece. What kind of logical progress leads to slippage? Only the illogical kind, I should think. But a slip is surely an error, is it not? Not always, it appears. We get the prompt qualifier sometimes, from which we deduce that there are times when a slip is not a slip. So we now want to know exactly when the longer form would not have been improved on by the shorter, but about this F3 keeps mum.  

Under point of view, we are told that it is “freely interchangeable with standpoint … and viewpoint.” That is quite a departure from F2, which asserts that “the idiomatic English is undoubtedly point of view.” What accounts for Burchfield’s change of heart? All we get is, “The run of the context governs the choice of word.” Alas, “run of the context” is no clearer than “the logical progress of ideas.” Perhaps Burchfield meant “rhythm of the context,” in which case he should have said so.  

Under infer, we get at first a firm distinction between infer and imply, with all the needed examples of correct and incorrect usage. But then comes the slippage, or slipperiness: “The clarity of the distinction between imply and infer is often questioned, and with a certain justification.” The argument for that “certain justification” is that the OED (Burchfield’s other baby) “gives unquestionable examples” of infer used in the sense of imply. These examples constitute “excellent supporting evidence from the 16C. to the 19C. (and some less impressive 20C. examples).”  

This raises an interesting question: who exactly is a reliable witness, giving excellent rather than less impressive evidence? On this rock much—if not all—linguistics comes to grief. Excellent evidence is usually construed as coming from reputed writers and reputable publications. But are writers, even great ones, above solecism? If famous writers are caught in error, as they often are, why should they be invoked as arbiters? Or is an error that can be found, let’s say, in Alexander Pope and the present pope (quite a writer, he!), and in both Powells, Anthony and Dawn, ipso facto no longer an error? Does its occurrence in the Times—either the London or the New York variety, or both— absolve it from guilt? I think not. It was as fine a writer as Dickens who entitled one of his novels erroneously, and mistakes in large type hurt more than those in fine print.  

But before we check out F3 on mutual, let’s consider one more piece of information it offers on infer: “There is also abundant evidence that lawyers and judges sometimes use imply in contexts where a layman would have expected infer.” That raises the question of why lawyers and judges should be taken seriously when it comes to linguistics, and casts doubt on Burchfield’s use of layman in this context. I would think that the layman here is not the non-jurist, as the statement implies (not infers!), but precisely the jurist who uses imply for infer and proves linguistically ignorant.  

Now for Burchfield’s crowning absurdity: “Linguistic attitudes tend to change as time goes on,” which may be the understatement—or platitude—of the decade. Forthwith our pundit turns prophet: what the “OED’s sense 4” tends to legitimate by all those examples “may well become one of the natural uses of infer at some point in the 21C.” Such prognostication can easily be misread as approbation; where is, at the least, a sense of regret about such an erosion of needed distinctions? True, it is now customary to make fun of Jonathan Swift for having deprecated the coinage mob from mobile vulgus, which, over his fulminations, became standard usage. But what if Swift was right, and it was enough to have crowd and masses and hoi polloi (not “the hoi polloi,” which Burchfield accepts). How many synonyms does a word need? It would be better for Burchfield to be proved wrong by the future than to prove a doormat in the present. The future might even turn out different if the Burchfields of this world took a more courageously combative stand.  

On to mutual. F2 was clear on this one: “it involves the relation x is or does to y as y to x, and not the relation x is or does to z as y to z.” And it went on to reject “mutual friend” in favor of “common friend” or (lest common be mistaken for vulgar) “friend in common.” This may be a bit awkward, but better awkward than absurd. Burchfield, expectably, waffles away like the best waffle iron; indeed, this entry is as good a place as any from which to start scrutinizing F3. It condones “of mutual benefit to both the Scots and the English” without even noticing that both is redundant.  

Well then, if we cannot trust even our common friend Dickens (sorry, Charlie!), can we trust some sort of majority, or substantial minority, usage—which is what descriptive linguistics does? Again, I think not, and beg permission to digress somewhat. I can understand, though not condone, a usage such as “everyone [or everybody] removed their overcoats”—which Burchfield, citing fancy authorities, cheerfully approves—on the grounds that the logical his would slight women, and (here I agree) “his or her” would be clunky. But what about the following inanities that are gaining firm footholds?  

Take, first, what used always, sensibly, to be “You can’t eat your cake and have it too,” as it appears, for instance, in Joyce’s Ulysses. Suddenly, we hear on all sides, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” as it is listed in the Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings (1996). The first form makes sense: once you’ve eaten the damned thing, you can no longer have it. Not so the later, corrupt form: you can have your cake—enjoy looking at it, or keep it in the freezer, or have it set aside for you at the bakery—and then, at the proper moment, eat it, too. But some dolt somewhere along the line reversed the order, and it stuck.  

Or take “I could care less,” as some dimwit misconstrued “I couldn’t care less,” and now we are saddled with this absurdity. Burchfield, who records it, adds: “No one has satisfactorily accounted for the synonymy of what would appear to be [!] straightforward antonymous uses.” How delicately this is put; simple human stupidity is no longer acceptable as an explanation—therein lies its supreme triumph.  

Consider next a persistent American mispronunciation that, widespread as it is, has escaped the attention of both Burchfield and all American linguists known to me: groceries pronounced as “grosheries,” as if it were spelled “grocieries.” This stems from a faulty analogy with such like-sounding words as glazier and hosiery. False analogies of a similar kind account for any number of errors, yet this has not been sufficiently stressed. So, for instance, “work period” and “play period” begot the tautology “time period.” None of this is in F3; conversely, it finds space for the following entry: “okapi (Zaïrean animal). Pl. unchanged or okapis.” What a relief to know that however you form this plural, you will always be safe.  

One could multiply instances—not quite ad infinitum, but surely ad nauseam. The treatment, for example, of different than, protagonist, intrigue/intriguing, and cannot help but I find highly objectionable in its passive acceptance. So what if Sir Hall Caine, as early as 1894, wrote “She could not help but plague the lad”; does that make the tautology respectable? Let me, however, conclude my case against Burchfield and others of that stripe (to avoid the controversial ilk) with a discussion of one of today’s choicest bones of contention, the misused hopefully.  

Burchfield, interestingly, groups this under sentence adverbs, a term unknown to F1 and F2. I myself refer to it informally as “the impersonal hopefully”; others call it a sentence-modifying adverb. Burchfield begins with the undisputed use of the word: “in a hopeful manner.” But under the rubric sentence adverb, we read about the “bitter war” that erupted with hopefully “as its chief focus.” He states a general proposition: “in the 20C. there has been a swift and immoderate increase in the currency of -ly adverbs to qualify a prediction or assertion as a whole,” and offers as examples actually, basically, frankly, hopefully, regretfully, strictly, and thankfully. “Suddenly, around about the end of the 1960s, and with unprecedented venom, a dunce’s cap was placed on the head of anyone who used just one of them —hopefully—as a sentence adverb.”  

On the basis of entries in the OED, but not only on them, Burchfield shows that this practice is of long standing. Yet what neither he nor other pontificators note is the difference between endings in -ly, and those in -fully. The latter (and they are all equally culpable, it is only that hopefully is the most frequent) cannot be defended as, to quote Burchfield, “elliptical uses of somewhat longer phrases.” Thus frankly stands for “speaking frankly,” strictly for “strictly speaking,” and actually for “as things actually stand,” though basically does not expand so readily. But what is hopefully the contraction of? (Note that I do not hold with the antiquated injunction against split infinitives and sentence-ending prepositions.) Find me, however, the unelliptical version of hopefully if you can.  

Simply stated, hopefully presupposes a human agent; but who is filled with hope in “Hopefully it won’t rain tomorrow”? Certainly not the rain, which, even if you think of it as having Cummingsian small hands, does not hope for its not coming, or even for its coming. Well, who then? Burchfield explains the opposition to all -ly adverbs as follows: “Conservative speakers, taken unawares by the sudden expansion of an unrecognized type of construction, have exploded with resentment that is unlikely to fade away before at least the end of the 20C.”  

This is ludicrous, to begin with, because of that “at least the end of the 20C.” coming three or four years before century’s end. “At least” arouses expectations of a considerably longer stretch. Next, how does Burchfield know, even roughly, when a resentment will end? Further, what is this “taken unawares”? Anyone with ears and eyes could witness this thing coming—first gradually, then diluvially—for quite some time. And it is precisely conservative speakers who, on the constant lookout for such abuses, are most prepared for them.  

But, of course, the real cause for consternation—which Burchfield, after noting it, fails to analyze—lies elsewhere. This abuse is a horrible example of cravenly shirked responsibility. In the insecure Sixties, people became increasingly uneager to stick out their necks and say, for example, “I hope X won’t be elected.” What if your interlocutor was for X? Now, saying “Hopefully X won’t be elected” removes the onus from the speaker’s person to a nebulous generality of hopers, the ones for whom German provides man, and French on. Hopefully defuses responsibility through diffusion. And when people won’t even say “I hope it won’t rain tomorrow,” the moral cowardice that pollutes speech goes beyond the ungrammatical to the deplorable.  

I repeat, neither F3 nor any usage manual I know of perceives the simple but salient difference between -ly and -fully. Some books, such as Sidney Greenbaum’s Oxford English Grammar (1996), avoid the issue altogether. Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage (1989), however, is gung ho: “the storm appears to be moderating,” it proclaims, and cites the Prince of Wales’s using the sentence-modifying hopefully in a press conference. “What more prestigious cachet,” it asks, “could be put on it?” I don’t know —perhaps Lady Di’s endorsement. Conversely, The American Heritage Dictionary (1992) notes that opposition to it is growing: whereas in 1968 it was approved by 44 percent of the usage panel, only 27 percent approved in 1986. AHD concludes that the word has become a shibboleth.  

To my satisfaction, there remain definite holdouts, preeminently Wilson Follett and Jacques Barzun’s Modern American Usage (1966) and B. A. Phythian’s wonderfully jaunty Concise Dictionary of Correct English (1979). I reproduce part of the latter’s entry because I relish its tone: “Uses such as Hopefully the stain will not show are illiterate. … The climbers set off hopefully is correct. Hopefully, all the terrorists are now dead is not correct, unless the intended sense is that they are dead in a condition of hopefulness … Like many Americanisms, however, this wrong use of hopefully is now so widespread that it will probably become standard English in due time. The reader is urged to resist this growth.”  

That is the right attitude: a realistically pessimistic appraisal of the situation, but with determination to resist, and hope even against hope. How different from F3’s supine acquiescence! But then, Burchfield in many ways betrays what Fowler and Gowers stood for; indeed, in his preface, he is smugly condescending as he writes of Fowler’s “isolation from the mainstream” and “heavy dependence on schoolmasterly textbooks,” and wonders why “this schoolmasterly, quixotic, idiosyncratic, and somewhat vulnerable book … retained its hold on the imagination of all but professional linguistics scholars for just on seventy years.” In other words, a book for mere amateurs—but note that faint-hearted somewhat. Well, maybe the reason it did not hold the imagination of professional linguistics scholars is that they, poor things, don’t have any. Only slavish dependence on what the unwashed say and the illiterate write, with the now added encumbrance of political correctness.  

One wonders why Burchfield was picked for this job when one notes his patronizing tone toward Fowler’s book: “It is not, of course, as antiquated as Aelfric’s Grammar. … But it is a fossil all the same, and an enduring monument to all that was linguistically acceptable in the standard English of the southern counties of England in the first quarter of the twentieth century.” In other words: parochial and passé. Yet what the Greenwich observatory was for time, England’s southern counties have been for standard speech. Things have indeed changed since 1926 and F1, but we must remember that all change is not for the better, some of it downright harmful. The new hopefully can foster needless ambiguity, as in this example from the American Heritage Dictionary: “Hopefully the company has launched the new venture,” where “the meaning changes depending on whether hopefully represents the standpoint of the speaker or the company.”  

Even in elegant terseness, Fowler is well ahead of Burchfield. Consider F2 on piebald, skewbald: “P. is properly of white and black, s. of white and some colour.” In F3, this becomes the prolix, “A piebald animal (esp. a horse) is one having irregular patches of two colours, esp. black and white. A skewbald animal has irregular patches of white and another colour (properly not black).” Quite so, and what was that plural of okapi again?  

Notes
Go to the top of the document.  

  1. The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage, edited by R. W. Burchfield; Oxford University Press, 864 pages, $25. Go back to the text.

submitted by Lillith

grammar lessons -

Daily Grammar Lessons | © 1999-2008 Word Place, Inc.Daily Grammar is the brainchild of Pete Peterson, former Executive Vice President of Word Perfect. Pete wanted to find a way to easily teach grammar to those in need of lessons. In order to fulfill his wish, Pete sought out the help of Mr. Bill Johanson, a thirty-year English-teaching veteran.

Mr. Bill Johanson is the author of all the Daily Grammar lessons. He has taught high school and junior high school English classes for thirty years and has done a great job of preparing his students for college.

Teachers have our permission to duplicate and use the Daily Grammar lessons in their classrooms so long as the copyright information is preserved.

e.g.,

Daily Grammar Lessons Archive | © 1999-2008 Word Place, Inc.
 

Click here to receive grammar lessons via e-mail. 

 

Parts of Speech
Lessons 1-5 Verbs
Lessons 6-10 Verbs
Lessons 11-15 Verbs
Lessons 16-20 Nouns
Lessons 21-25 Pronouns
Lessons 26-30 Pronouns
Lessons 31-35 Adjectives
Lessons 36-40 Adjectives
Lessons 41-45 Adjectives
Lessons 46-50 Adverbs
Lessons 51-55 Adverbs
Lessons 56-60 Adverbs
Lessons 61-65 Adverbs
Lessons 66-70 Adverbs
Lessons 71-75 Prepositions
Lessons 76-80 Conjunctions
Lessons 81-85 Conjunctions
Lessons 86-90 Review
 

Parts of the Sentence
Lessons 91-95 Subject/Verb
Lessons 96-100 Subject/Verb
Lessons 101-105 Predicate Nominative 
Lessons 106-110 Direct Object
Lessons 111-115 S/V, PN, and DO
Lessons 116-120Transitive/Intransitive 
Lessons 121-125 Transitive/Intransitive 
Lessons 126-130 Appositives
Lessons 131-135 Nouns of Address
Lessons 136-140 Pronouns
Lessons 141-145 Pronouns
Lessons 146-150 Noun/Pronoun Review  
Lessons 151-155 Adjectives
Lessons 156-160 Review
Lessons 161-165 Adverbs
Lessons 166-170 Adverbs
Lessons 171-175 Review
Lessons 176-180 Prepositional Phrases
Lessons 181-185 Prepositional Phrases
Lessons 186-190 Review
Lessons 191-195 Indirect Objects
Lessons 196-200 Review
Lessons 201-205 Conjunctions
Lessons 206-210 Verbals
Lessons 211-215 Verbals - Gerunds
Lessons 216-220 Verbals - Noun Infinitives
 

Parts of the Sentence -- Continued
Lessons 221-225 Verbals - Participles
Lessons 226-230 Verbals - Participles
Lessons 231-235 Verbals - Adverb Infinitives
Lessons 236-240 Verbals
Lessons 241-245 Verbals
Lessons 246-250 Compound Sentences
Lessons 251-255 Adjective Clauses
Lessons 256-260 Adjective Clauses
Lessons 261-265 Adverb Clauses
Lessons 266-270 Adverb Clauses
Lessons 271-275 Noun Clauses
Lessons 276-280 Clauses - Review
Lessons 281-285 Clauses - Review
Lessons 286-290 Sentence Variety
Lessons 291-295 Compound and Complex
Lessons 296-300 Compound and Complex
 

Mechanics
Lessons 301-305 Capitalization
Lessons 306-310 Capitalization
Lessons 311-315 Capitalization
Lessons 316-320 Capitalization
Lessons 321-325 Capitalization
Lessons 326-330 Capitalization
Lessons 331-335 End Punctuation
Lessons 336-340 Periods
Lessons 341-345 Commas
Lessons 346-350 Commas
Lessons 351-355 Commas
Lessons 356-360 Commas
Lessons 361-365 Commas
Lessons 366-370 Commas
Lessons 371-375 Quotation Marks
Lessons 376-380 Quotation Marks
Lessons 381-385 Semicolons
Lessons 386-390 Colons
Lessons 391-395 Colons
Lessons 396-400 Italics/Underlining
Lessons 401-405 Apostrophes
Lessons 406-410 Apostrophes
Lessons 411-415 Apostrophes
Lessons 416-420 Hyphens
Lessons 421-425 Hyphens
Lessons 426-430 Dashes
Lessons 431-435 Parentheses
Lessons 436-440 Brackets
 

submitted by HD Fowler - (www)

grammar notzi - Someone who knows something is wrong but chooses not  to correct the speaker or writer. Word notzi.

e.g., Unless I want to annoy someone, my preference is to be a grammar notzi, not a grammar nazi.

submitted by HD Fowler

grammarful - The act or process of completely slaughtering the English language by perverting common words to fit the situation

e.g., I love being romantical, but being grammarful is way more fun.

submitted by Nicholas Green

grammarizing - Being the grammar Nazi on someone else's document.

e.g., I've been grammarizing this proposal for hours -- whoever wrote it failed English unpossibly.

submitted by Brett Looney - (www)

grammasphemy - Grammatical blasphemy. Misuse of the English language so profane it is the verbal equivalent of fingernails grating against a chalkboard.

e.g., I cringe every time I hear such grammasphemy as "I seen it."

submitted by Robert

grammaticaster - From Michael Quinion: "a contemptuous term for a petty or inferior grammarian."

e.g., Slings and arrows -- Lillith says I'm a grammaticaster. For once, she may be on to something.

submitted by HD Fowler

grammatized - 1. To make one a grandmother. 2. To behave like a gramma. For twenty-year-old friends who start behaving like old, blue-haired ladies.

e.g., 1. Sheila's daughter grammatized her by having a baby girl. 2. After her 25th birthday, Heidi became grammatized -- going to bed early, crocheting, and adopting stray cats.

submitted by Tara

grammazon - Used by Roy Peter Clark in The Glamour of Grammar for those grammar czars and czarinas who go a step too far by jumping on anyone who makes the slightest grammatical error. I picture grammazons as being of the female persuasion, and built like those "lady wrestlers" on WWE's Monday Night Raw -- or like the high school girl (name unremembered) I had a blind date with my second year in college. Can also be a verb.

e.g., "What happened to your arm, HD." "It's sprained. Lillith, grammazon that she is, took me to task physically for slipping up and using it's for its. Dammit, it was just a ytpo. I know the difference." "Ah, now I know why you gave her the e-mail address you did for her to use at the pd: thebitch@mickeyfan.net" "You got that right, Betsy. I'm close to revoking her grammar police license. I can do that, you know." | Lillith grammazoned me.

submitted by HD Fowler - (www)

grammer - Grammar. Saying that grammer is an acceptable alternative spelling of grammar is just the sort of descriptivist nonsense (accepting errors as mere change) that drives prescriptivists such as John Simon mad. I'm on Simon's side as a prescriptivist; however, Simon himself managed to misspell grammar in a review he wrote for The New Criterion. Neither he nor anyone else caught the mistake before the review went into print.

Rather than sic Simon and thus call attention to his error, I am (reluctantly) issuing an edict: By virtue of my authority as principal editor of the PseudoDictionary, grammer is henceforth a correct spelling of grammar. I'm also, of course, going out of my way to point out how ironic it is that Simon should have made the mistake in that particular review -- one in which he was characteristically and caustically critical of R.W. Burchfield's revision of Fowler's Modern English Usage for its descriptivist approach.

"Usage is as usage does" is what one much-published [at least 40 books] descriptivist replied in an e-mail after I remarked on his ready and willing acceptance of they as a singular pronoun. In contrast, Simon calls for prescriptivists to have the courage to stand and fight for what is right. As I said, I'm with Simon -- except when it comes to the spirit of the PsuedoDictionary and making it up as you go along.

e.g.,

March 1997 | Thoroughly Modern Burchfield | by John Simon

I repeat, neither F3 nor any usage manual I know of perceives the simple but salient difference between -ly and -fully. Some books, such as Sidney Greenbaum’s Oxford English Grammer (1996), avoid the issue altogether. Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage (1989), however, is gung ho: “the storm appears to be moderating,” it proclaims, and cites the Prince of Wales’s using the sentence-modifying hopefully in a press conference. “What more prestigious cachet,” it asks, “could be put on it?” I don’t know—perhaps Lady Di’s endorsement. Conversely, The American Heritage Dictionary (1992) notes that opposition to it is growing: whereas in 1968 it was approved by 44 percent of the usage panel, only 27 percent approved in 1986. AHD concludes that the word has become a shibboleth.

submitted by HD Fowler - (www)

gramminated - To be nominated for a Grammy Award.

e.g., They were gramminated for "Best New Artists of the Year."

submitted by Linda Myers

grammo - A grammatical error in typed or typeset material.

e.g., Oops, that last e-mail I sent contained a few grammos. The corrected version will be sent shortly.

submitted by Tom Abrahamson

grammophone - Someone who constantly corrects your grammar.

e.g., "See all of youse later." "No, it's see all of *you* later." "Geez, Merf, you're a grammophone. Do you have any idea how annoying you can be when you correct people?"

submitted by Merfi

gramouflage - Speech or text that adheres to grammatical rules, or not, but conveys little or no meaning.

e.g., The press secretary responded to the hostile question with gramouflage, leaving members of the press baffled.

submitted by michael miller

grampa rat - (n.) 1. The person (or animal, tree, building, etc.) who (or which) has been in or at a particular place, building, occupation, organization, rank, task, or office longer than anyone (or anything) else. (Also, of course, "Gramma Rat.") (Used both pejoratively and endearingly, as well as a simple descriptive.) 2. The person (or thing, etc.) assigned to remain behind, cover a retreat, hold at a specific spot, or the like.

e.g., "Apartment 7G belongs to old Mr. Kongwe. He's like 100 years old, and he's lived here since 1960!" "Whoa! That is seriously Grampa Rat." | "How do we keep the Enemy from following us?" "Let's sink the Lizzy here at the narrows; they won't be able to come after us in force until they've cleared it." "The Lizzy, Cap'n? Gramma Rat? That's too bad: she's been a good ship." "Can't be helped, Doc--at least it's a hero's death."

submitted by Scott M. Ellsworth

grampage - When someone over the age of 40 starts killing people, etc.

e.g., Did you hear about that 60-year-old grandfather from the Bronx? Went on a grampage and ran over four kids in a stolen taxi.

submitted by Lord Argent - (www)

grand theft amnesia - A mental ailment which occurs after one plays the game Grand Theft Auto for too long. Depending on an individual's level of intelligence, the game rewires the subconscious mind so that one forgets some of the basic learned behaviors which before were second nature.

e.g., After I played GTA for two days straight I started running red lights by accident -- clearly a case of Grand Theft Amnesia. | Two boys in Tennessee were arrested for shooting at cars on the freeway, killing one driver and wounding several others. During the investigation one boy stated that they had just finished playing GTA and thought that shooting at cars might be fun -- Grand Theft Amnesia?

submitted by Wendy Martin

grandamndidilyumious - A word used to describe something (usually food) that surpasses the meaning of delicious, as if used by Don King.

e.g., Boy, that sure was a grandamndidlyumious sandwich.

submitted by Kurtles - (www)

grandbrother - The offspring of your daughter and father.

e.g., Only people in the South are capable of having Grandbrothers.

submitted by Jeff and Matt

grandee - A real word that always reduces in one way or another to bigshot. We're taking it for our own use to mean VIP -- a Very Important Pseudodictionarier. When you accumulate enough points for your submittals, we add you to our list of grandees. That guarantees your place in pseudo-history. Here's our current Top 40 PD Grandee List. Can you buy your way onto the Grandee List? Absolutely. E-mail HD and he'll tell you how.

e.g., The following excerpts from current news article show just how meaningful it is to be referred to as a grandee.

The $50 billion grandee: Many wealthy clients face financial ruin following the arrest of 70-year-old Bernard Madoff, a Wall Street grandee and one of its most respected and well-connected money managers, on charges of operating a $50bn (£33.5bn) investment scam. Many more expect to emerge with substantial losses and beetroot faces.
The man who conned the world The fallout from the arrest of the Wall Street grandee Bernard Madoff was continuing to grow last night, as institution after institution detailed the extent of their possible losses, and the victims in the UK were headlined by HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland, which is majority-owned by the British Government.

submitted by HD Fowler

grandies - Grandfather + Grandmother

e.g., I went to my grandies last summer.

submitted by Pirahna

granding - (v., participial/gerundive) rendering something magnificent, glorious, resplendent, or exceptional (also "to grand," "granded").

e.g., That new marble and granite memorial sure grands that roundabout. | It's a fun musical, but the finale needs granding.

submitted by Scott M. Ellsworth

grandma metric - A form of measurement used in baking using such units as the "dash," the "pinch," the "dollop," and the "smidgen," generally used by people who have been baking for so many years that they can pretty much throw ingredients together in an apparently haphazard fashion and still have everything come out absolutely perfect. Used by grandmothers and professional chefs.

e.g., I'm sorry, I don't know grandma metric. How much is a pinch again?

submitted by Shaduan

grandmotherhood - The later state corresponding to the earlier state of motherhood.

e.g., My wife is enjoying grandmotherhood. It's certainly easier than motherhood.

submitted by emma kimor - (www)

grandpaboy - Immature man.

e.g., Eminem is a grandpaboy.

submitted by christopher miller - (www)

grandy - Better than great and dandy.

e.g., On this beautiful morning I feel just grandy.

submitted by david

granfalloon - A proud and meaningless association of people.

e.g., Our esteemed manager is a member of the Elks Club, the Society of American Management, the Kiwanis Club and other well-known granfalloons. --Kurt Vonnegut's _Cat's Cradle_

submitted by Joel Parker

grannystick - Another word for a bridge in pool. Sometimes called a "cheat stick."

e.g., You don't need the grannystick for that shot, do you? I could reach it without one.

submitted by Andrew - (www)

granoids - Panties that Grandma wears, the big, up to the ninnies variety.

e.g., Mom was helping with Grandma's laundry when she held up a pair of granoids. "But Grandma's so small. Why does she get such big unders?"

submitted by Lisa

granola - "an overage hippie, somebody lost in the '60s or '70s"

e.g., "Oh yeah, there's a lot of granolas living up near Klamath Falls."

submitted by RaggedClaws49

granola - A guy who is a real outdoorsy backpacker type. Sort of plain and naturalistic, you may find him eating granola on the hike.

e.g., You're really into that guy? He's so granola!

submitted by joelle

grant - A fifty dollar bill.

e.g., I would like two grants back from my hundred.

submitted by Rick

grantartica - The cold, isolated place where art companies dwell without funding. (Washington Post Style Invitational.)

e.g., Anna, you major in art and you'll probably end up in Grantartica.

submitted by HD Fowler

granticiate - Used in conjunction with someone who takes things for granted and doesn't appreciate things.

e.g., She granticiates things. | He is a granticiator.

submitted by Oliver

granties - Large unattractive underwear having the qualities of "grandma panties." Big butts look so much better in thongs.

e.g., I know it's time to do laundry when all I have left in my underwear drawer is my granties.

submitted by dollywhacker

grantsalot - Someone who is generous and allows others to do as they wish, to be themselves.

e.g., My buddy is very lucky -- his father is a true grantsalot.

submitted by Paul Edic - (www)

graoondified - Graoond is ground in grossness. A thing is graoondified if it has the essences of ground in grossness.

e.g., A brother may ask his sister about her dress, saying "How graoondified can you get?" This of course should be asked with extreme facial expression and body attitude.

submitted by Rebekah J. McCormick

grape root - 1. Traditionally the subterranean vine organ responsible for absorbing nutrients and water and providing structural support. 2. More recently, the vine itself.

e.g., Public Service Announcement: Please don't confuse "grape root" with "grape root." It has been linked to birth defects.

submitted by Stosh

grape smuggler - A small bikini, thong, or Speedo-like swimsuit worn by a older, balding, hairy male.

e.g., Look at that hairy back gorilla with a grape smuggler on.

submitted by Rob T.

grape smugglers - Pants, shorts, sweats, or other legware worn by males. The clothing is so tight that their private parts are prominently featured. Grape-smugglers.

e.g., The visit to the beach was fine, but there were too many guys wearing grape-smugglers.

submitted by Patrick

grape written - Bristolian term for the country in which we live.

e.g., I K Brunel designed a ship called the Grape Written.

submitted by Bryan

grapeciousness - The being and description of grapes. (ED. I felt sympatico with the e-mail address (fatguy) of the submitter and allowed the entry, even though it seems to violate the guideline about making sense. I think it has something to do with the quality or state of being a grape. I'll have to re-educate myself on forming words with -ness endings. Maybe I can figure out what to do with it later. The braces ({}) flag it for re-examination.)

e.g., I really like the grapeciousness of that grape.

submitted by C.J. Read

grapes - Weed, pot, marijuana, dro, purple. A medicinal plant that can be smoked or chewed. Makes you feel relaxed and happy, aka "high." (ED. And, according to recent Australian research, smoking it results in shrinkage of important parts of the brain.)

e.g., We got them grapes and a swisher.

submitted by Denahli

graphicity - The quality of being extremely graphic (visually, verbally).

e.g., John Donne's imagery in his poetry shows exreme graphicity.

submitted by Scott

graphiglia - Patterns in the sky that resemble drawings.

e.g., There was a great deal of graphiglia in the sky yesterday, due to the large number of jets practicing at the bombing range.

submitted by Ken Barefield

graphophobia - Fear of coordinates.

e.g., Cam's graphophobia would not let him get near a GPS unit. AutoCAD was also out of the question -- too many coordinates to mess with.

submitted by Ty Evans

grapple-grummit - "the technical term for something that you forget the name of , or don't know what it's called."

e.g., "Would you pass me the GRAPPLE-GRUMMIT over there?No, no, the other one!"

submitted by serenity

gras - Abbreviation for "gracias," the Spanish word for "thanks." Often followed with "nad," short for "de nada," the Spanish term for "you're welcome."

e.g., Can you hand me that book? Gras.

submitted by Pineapple - (www)

gras bra - A malformed version of "Gracias, brother" --slang for "Thank you." "Gras bra" first saw widespread use in the Pacific Northwest, especially in Ashland, Oregon. The term has since spread to small pockets in Los Angeles and New York City.

e.g., That new CD you gave we was sweet. Gras bra.

submitted by Brady Brim-DeForest - (www)

grass hopper - Railroad term for special hopper cars that carry two completely different kinds of cargo.

e.g., Grass hopper cars are used to carry lawn clippings and also to carry potted plants.

submitted by S. Berliner, III - (www)

grass pants - What we laughingly call the quaint little town near a mountain pass, named for Ulysses, the 18th President of the U. S.

e.g., Grass Pants is where you go to spend a quiet weekend, because the locals head for the big city to get some excitement.

submitted by Steve McDonald

grassiti - (grass-'ee-dee; n.) 1. crop circles; 2. Any symbol cut, carved, incised, or otherwise textured into grass or other ground cover. [from _graffiti_.]

e.g., "Wow: hey, have you seen that big grassiti on the news? Maybe it's aliens!" "No it isn't: it's 'you are so stupid' in Devanagari."

submitted by Scott M. Ellsworth

grassoline - (n.) The smell of freshly cut grass and cheap gasoline: the odor of lawn mowing.

e.g., Grassoline is the smell of baby boomer adolescence. The heat, the sweat, the endless pushing of those old, much heavier, mowers without any mechanical help. Those machines were as heavy as the humidity. And grassoline brings up memories of lemonade and chilled root beer in the shade of the oaks and the elms.

submitted by Scott M. Ellsworth

grasstroturf - The new turf they've been installing in football and baseball stadiums of late. The surface is cushiony like grass, but still made from Astroturf-type materials.

e.g., Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Partriots, will be replacing the natural grass on the field with grasstroturf.

submitted by BL

graticious - Free and gracious. Combination of "gratuitous" (complimentary, costless, free, gratis) and "gracious."

e.g., Jonathan H of www.anotherpointless.com graticiously purchased the domain name psuedodictionary.com and linked it to us for those who interchange the "e" and "u" in the spelling. Thanks very much, Jonathan.

submitted by Miss Speller

gratifaction - Gratifaction is a simple but rewarding hybrid, melding satisfaction and gratification into a much more useful and--to my mind--powerful word.

e.g., The overwhelming sense of gratifaction I experience from a wilderness sunset is unsurpassed.

submitted by Larry

gratisfaction - Combination of gratifying and satisfaction.

e.g., I can't get no ... Gratisfaction!

submitted by Professor Plum

grattery - Really smelly armpits.

e.g., Jessica used to have some friends, until her grattery drove people away from her.

submitted by Jessica Bowers

grattitude - Sarcastic thanks.

e.g., "I kind of broke this priceless heirloom. "Thanks," he said with grattitude.

submitted by Gebusa

gratuitize - To ad a gratuity to a bill, usually for parties which exceed 6 members.

e.g., Boss, I need to you gratuitize table twenty -- they asked for the check.

submitted by Jim Lafferty

graunch - The sound of a car panel being crumpled slowly against an immovable object such as a light pole.

e.g., Charlie heard a terrible graunch, and realized that he'd left the passenger side door open, and that is was slowly crumpling against the parking meter pole.

submitted by Catherine Perry

graunt - Great Aunt

e.g., I love my Graunt!

submitted by Dede

graupel - White hail that bounces without making any sound; a hybrid between snow and hail; to precipitate graupel.

e.g., Look out the window. It's graupelling.

submitted by Colin Taffel

grave - Used to describe or forewarn of a "no lie" topic; equivalent to serious, or "I swear to God." More serious still: grandma grave.

e.g., I saw a terrible accident on the freeway just now, and I think somebody was hurt really bad...grave.

submitted by Johnny King

grave demeanor - A cemetery attendant who refuses burial to nasty deceased.

e.g., He had to be kept refrigerated because of a grave demeanor.

submitted by S. Berliner, III - (www)

grave perjury - To swear on a living person’s grave.

e.g., He committed grave perjury because he had swore on his mother's grave, but she wasn't yet dead.

submitted by Sammers

gravitass - Taking yourself too seriously, when everyone else thinks you are an idiot. (ED. 2. Howard Dean. 3. One completely lacking in gravitas. Especially applicable to politicians lacking sufficient stature to be running for the offices they are running for. Given their party's symbol, the term is usually better suited to Democrats than Republicans.)

e.g., Many TV evangelists need to deal with their gravitass a little better. (2. Monday, January 19, 2004, Howard Dean showed his gravitass after the Iowa Democratic Caucus. 3. Ladies and gentlemen. It gives me great pleasure to introduce Howard Dean, candidate for the 2004 Democratic nomination for President -- and gravitass extraordinaire.)

submitted by Mark Woolley

gravitory - Space toilet that works because of artificial gyroscopic gravity.

e.g., The only thing about the gravitory is that you can't stand up.

submitted by Paul Edic - (www)

gravity shield - Any material or device which will nullify or neutralize the usual force of gravity.

e.g., Humans have not yet managed to develop or use the gravity shield, as they've already done on other worlds. Interstellar travel is made much easier with this simple application of reverse repulsory interaction.

submitted by Paul Edic - (www)

gravity test - When playing Hackie Sack and you toss the sack to someone to begin the round, and she is unaware you tossed it until it hits the ground.

e.g., "What th . . .?" "Gravity test. Yep, gravity is on."

submitted by Daniel Canna - (www)

gravity, mean old mr. - Said in response to someone dropping something. Puts the blame for the event on this mythical character. The more clumsy or messy the thing dropped is, the funnier this phrase gets.

e.g., Mean Old Mr, Gravity! Better get a mop for that.

submitted by Cory

gravolade - Accolade given after the death of a person, usually at the grave.

e.g., Nothing nice was said about him in life, but his gravolades were good.

submitted by Adrian R. Lawler

gravory - A place where gravy is stored.

e.g., "Darling, where's the gravy?" "In the gravory, where else?"

submitted by O Turner

gravy - "Cool, smooth"

e.g., "It's all gravy''

submitted by Nolan

grawble - A grey creature that lives in beards.

e.g., I have a grawble in my beard.

submitted by Bradley and Emma

grawdue - A mixture of grime, dirt, and residue.

e.g., Every time he shaves he leaves a ring of grawdue in the bathroom sink.

submitted by Melissa

gray - (adj.) homicidal. [this word requires some explanation, obviously: the word comes from a pro/con debate on homosexuality. One of the students coined the term to identify a logical quandary he saw in the pro-side's argument. Someone who is "Gray" is homicidal, said he, and ought to have the right to murder someone suicidal, or, conversely, someone who is suicidal [I don't know why he didn't call the suicidal person "gray" as well] should be permitted to call upon the services of someone who is homicidal to end their life. It was a thought-provoking argument, but I didn't get to hear the rest of the debate. Perhaps the PD forum will take it up for discussion.] 2. Homiphobic: (n.) someone averse to the homicidal/suicidal idea explained above. (adj.) to be averse to this philosophy without rational grounds (I guess).

e.g., "I'm in so much pain, can't someone help me die?" "Don't worry, Dr. Bortda is Gray: he'll help you." | "But he wanted me to kill him." "Yes, but you knew assisted suicide is illegal here, didn't you?" "Yeah, but that's just homiphobic conventionality."

submitted by Scott M. Ellsworth

gray bar hotel - Prison. Long-existing slang.

e.g., Gonna do my best to see that she gets a room at the gray bar hotel.

submitted by HD Fowler

gray-bar land - Where you are when you are waiting so long for your computer to finish something that it has to display a progress bar on the screen.

e.g., I would like to install this freeware, but I am still in gray-bar land waiting for it to download.

submitted by Stephanie - (www)

graze - Process involving two or more people at a meal who devour with great zeal, gusto, and relish every last morsel of food within arms-reach. From Raymond Carver's short story "Cathedral."

e.g., We really grazed that table. I can't believe we were all so starved.

submitted by Lunch

grazer - Used to describe someone who is a vegetarian.

e.g., Don't bother grillin' a burger for Cassie, she's a grazer.

submitted by Lynchmob

grazing rights - Petty theft. Usually at the company you work for, usually overlooked. Students may interpret their grazing rights as including not just school property, but also another student's or a teacher's property.

e.g., "Where you going with that box of pens you took out of the supply cabinet?" "Home. Grazing rights." | "Where'd the guys on the loading dock get those steaks they're eating?" "Someone accidentally dropped a box of Omaha Steaks. It broke open, so they put 'em on the barbie. Grazing rights." "Accidentally? Where'd the grill come from?" | Mmmm, grazing rights don't extend to taking Mr. Hall's sousaphone, Chris. Put it back. And take the basketball goal and the coach's sneakers back to the gym.

submitted by [Mr. T]

gream, scroan - Groan-scream, scream-groan. Used by author Spider Robinson.

e.g., He scroaned in agony over the rotten pun. He greamed in pain as the children landed on his stomach.

submitted by Eric S.

grease - Used like "smurf"was used in "The Smurfs." Takes the place of a word one is too lazy to say, think of, or even know. Most often used to state that good looking women are around.

e.g., 1. That's some grease walking in. 2. She's greasy. 3. Pass me that grease over there.

submitted by Gerald Lebolo

grease bomb - Originally a McD's Quarter Pounder with Cheese, but extended to any fast food burger that has a massive slab of meat and relatively little bun, condiments, etc.

e.g., "You OK, Bob?" "I think the third grease bomb was a mistake."

submitted by Tom Topham

greasy spoon - English cafe that serves an all-day breakfast, the greasier the better. A good greasy spoon usually consists of two eggs, two sausages, two bacon, baked beans, black pudding, chips, and a cuppa or three. Ramon's, a fantastic greasy spoon in Cardiff, Wales, adds to this with pink walls and photographs of kittens in wine glasses. This contrasts nicely with the sweaty-arsed builders who form its constituency. Impressively, even the tea at Ramon's is greasy.

e.g., I felt like death when I woke up this morning, but after going down to the greasy spoon with my housemates, I felt a lot better. Well, after I'd thrown the greasy spoon back up, actually.

submitted by Bent Udder - (www)

great big head - When hair gets itself into a posture (usually over the course of sleep) that makes the person's head look uncharacteristically large.

e.g., Look at Jill, she's got great big head.

submitted by ditnis

great horned spoon - A large shovel used in gold mining during California's Gold rush during the 1850s.

e.g., Mad used her great horned spoon to load the placer box while mining for gold.

submitted by Frederick J. Smith - (www)

great nudini - A person who virtually comes out of nowhere onto the playing field of a sporting event completely naked.

e.g., Last week's Cowboys-Eagles game was delayed due to a great nudini strutting on the 30-yard line just before kickoff.

submitted by reese danger epstein

great unposhed, the - A variant of the great unwashed, it, too, refers to hoi polloi.

e.g., The Queen does not care to meet the great unposhed, as she feels they are beneath her.

submitted by Jason Jones

great wooze - A state that eventually comes over most chronic insomniacs that usually leads to at least an hour or two of sleep. Usually preceded by "a" or "the."

e.g., After nine nights of less than four hours sleep, finally, a great wooze swept me into sandmanland.

submitted by steve zihlavsky

greatless - Appreciation knowing no boundaries.

e.g., Your efforts are greatless.

submitted by p Hollander - (www)

greazy - someone has done you wrong

e.g., "if your hangin out with your friends and you all go out to eat and they run out leaving you to pay the bill, that's greazy."

submitted by Mo-gal - (www)

greb - Person of no fixed abode, possibly of limited wealth. Person lacking in hygiene and personal appearance. Often a Gypsy.

e.g., I see the grebs are setting up their caravans on the park.

submitted by Coofer Cat - (www)

greb, grunger, greebo - Someone who tends to be either a skate(board)er, BMXer, MTBer or similar extreme sporter. Generally wears baggy trousers with long (two feet or more) chains from belt loops to pocket, hoodies and suchlike. Usually likes rock and metal, but many are also into hip-hop these days. can be an insult esp. from townies however grebs don't actually care what they are called

e.g., This place is full of grebs. Look at all the skateboards.

submitted by dekoi

greco-romanono - To combine a Latin or Greek word with a vulgate word creating a phrase which is meaningful but (technically) wrong. "Blood-mobile" should be "blood-van" or "sanguine-mobile."

e.g., The term "blood-mobile" is the most commonly used Greco-Romanono in the English language.

submitted by Stephen Mize

grecofro - An afro on a person of Greek descent.

e.g., Apostolos has a grecofro.

submitted by Allison Harris

greeble - The action of adding small, useless, meaningless, space-filling detail to an image, graphic, or model to give the sense of size and realism.

e.g., Snoop greebled his space fighter mesh to make it look more realistic.

submitted by CyberSnoop - (www)

greece the skids - To "grease the skids" is to facilitate something. To "greece the skids" is to facilitate a country's downfall with unaffordable government spending, primarily entitlements.

e.g., Don't expect Congress or the President to make much of an effort to improve the economy. They're too busy greecing the skids to bother with that.

submitted by HD Fowler

greediot - Person whose brain is ruled primarily by avarice.

e.g., The greediots in the RIAA have failed to see the long-term wisdom in devising a workable online music swapping scheme.

submitted by Thomas Ingledew - (www)

greek olive factor - When you eat something and you expect it to taste a certain way, and it tastes completely different. (Because once I thought a Greek olive was a black olive, and it tasted like a green olive. I hate green olives.)

e.g., I took a drink of what I thought was regular milk, but the greek olive factor kicked in and it turned out to be soy milk.

submitted by Zanny - (www)

green - "Okay" or "Is that clear?"

e.g., A: That's *my* chocolate bar, green? B: Green.

submitted by May Trix

green glop - What we called the government-surplus canned spinach they served in our high school cafeteria. It was always very old and slimy and I doubt if anyone ever actually ate it. But they were required to serve it anyway. It usually was put on small paper plates that had been furnished along with the spinach.

e.g., I'll never forget the day before spring break, when dozens of plates of spinach went sailing across the lunchroom, dropping their loads in mid-flight.

submitted by Steve McDonald

green lightning - The "flashing green" on computer terminals in days of yore.

The Hackers' Dictionary of Computer Jargon [IBM] n. 1. Apparently random flashing streaks on the face of 3278-9 terminals while a new symbol set is being downloaded. This hardware bug was left deliberately unfixed, as some genius within IBM suggested it would let the user know that "something is happening." That, it certainly does. Later microprocessor-driven IBM color graphics displays were actually programmed to produce green lightning. 2. [proposed] Any bug perverted into an alleged feature by adroit rationalization or marketing. "Motorola calls the CISC cruft in the 88000 architecture `compatibility logic', but I call it green lightning." See also ((feature)) (sense 6). -- The AI Hackers Dictionary

e.g., No, it's not dead yet -- see the green lightning?

submitted by HD Fowler - (www)

green on thursday - Many years ago when I was in school, if you came to school wearing green, that was supposed to mean that you were "queer."

e.g., Needless to say, no one ever seemed to come to school wearing green on Thursday. It would be interesting to know where this idea might have originated. It was undoubtedly just someone's silly invention. (ED. Don't know where it came from, but it was the same story in rural Arkansas -- more than 50 years ago.)  
 

Always wear GREEN on Thursdays.

"Queers and fairies wear green on Thursday" is among the many words and phrases Judy Grahn explores in her bookAnother Mother Tongue, (Beacon Press, 1984).

Grahn writes that in her high school, words like "queer" and "fairy" began entering her classmates' vocabulary around 9th grade. She goes on to tell that by 10th and 11th grade,"it suddenly became a known 'fact' that anyone who wore green on a Thursday was automatically a queer or a fairy." pg. 77

In researching the etymology of this saying, Grahn discovered through the work of Margaret Murray that there had been a Fairy people who lived in the British Isles preceding the conquest of Caesar in 58 [CE A.D.]. These Fairy people were dark-skinned and wore green. The Fairies typically celebrated in ceremonies that included snake dances winding through town. She also discovered that on Thursdays, they partook in ceremonies including same sex activity.

Wishing to wipe out any forms of indigenous religion, the Romans slaughtered the Fairy people much as the Spanish later slaughtered the indigenous tribes of South America. She puts forth the idea that people began the habit of not wearing green on Thursday, "lest you be mistaken for one of them."(pg. 81). . . .

 
You can find more here.

submitted by Paul Edic - (www)

green stuff - A food substance that has been in the fridge for an unfathomable period of time, and is hence unidentifiable to all but those with psychic powers. Something you will eat after you come back from a party.

e.g., Bob ate the green stuff he found in the fridge last night and he felt a bit uncool this morning.

submitted by chris

green terror - Mascot of Western Maryland College and the name of the school's football team. Jokingly ambiguous creature, as no one has ever seen one, or even a picture. Mascot faces extinction due to the unpopularity of its name and ambiguity.

e.g., My school's mascot is the Green Terror, but don't ask me what it looks like.

submitted by Tara DellaFranzia - (www)

green-gray - A hipster, artist, or hippie who doesn't appear to shower. Approximates the color of her skin.

e.g., That bar is full of green-grays. Let's go somewhere else.

submitted by Mike C - (www)

green-neck, greenneck - Redneck hater.

e.g., Shut up. Why? Just cause you're a green-neck.

submitted by Aleezia

green-sweating - Being all up in the business of an environmental advocate at a social gathering.

e.g., Look at Hagen -- he's green-sweating the lady from the wind power company.

submitted by Charles Bozonier - (www)

greenfield - Virgin territory, wide open land. Greenfield has been so overused that it's now almost inherently mocking, "greenfield approach" being loosely synonymous with frittering away millions of dollars on a project that will never make any money.

e.g., Shall we take a greenfield approach to building the network, or shall we leverage our existing systems?

submitted by Joe Baressi

greengrocers' apostrophe - Misused apostrophes, such as adding «apostrophe s» for a plural when an «s» by itself is the correct way to make the plural. | An incorrectly used apostrophe; an unnecessary apostrophe.  
 

The Word Spy (green.groh.surz uh.PAWS.truh.fee) n. An apostrophe erroneously inserted before the final "s" in the plural form of a word. Also: greengrocer's apostrophe.

e.g., "The sheeple do not hold the politician's accountable until after the fact." "Ummm, I don't know how I'm able to do it, but I think I hear a greengrocer's apostrophe there." | You see greengrocers' apostrophes all the time these days. Especially at stores such as WalMart where the express lanes say "10 items or less" -- which would be better said as "10 or fewer items."  
 

Earliest Citation In the nonstandard ('illiterate') use often called in BrE the greengrocer's apostrophe, as in apple's 55P per lb and We sell the original shepherds pie's (notice in a shop window, Canterbury, England). -- Thomas McArthur ed., The Oxford Companion to the English Language, Oxford University Press, September, 1992

submitted by HD Fowler - (www)

greenheads - Environmentalists, tree huggers, etc. Easier to say greenhead.

e.g., The greenheads' idol is Arianna Huffington, because of her protesting the use of SUVs.

submitted by K. B. Hurst

greenwheel - (n.) 1. the cycle of seasons through the year; 2. the procession of the vernal equinox, the summer solstice, the autumnal equinox, and the winter solstice; 3. the eight holidays of the neopagan year.

e.g., It seems only yesterday I lived in the Poconos, but that was 33 years ago. The greenwheel rolls ever faster as your days pile up.

submitted by Scott M. Ellsworth

greeting - Scottish slang, crying.

e.g., "Why are you greeting?" "I fell over and hurt my knee."

submitted by Adam Leslie

greetz - Greetings. A generic salutation used to begin an e-mail or other non-personal communication. Use for "Dear," especially when you don't know the person's name or whether or not she is dear.

e.g., Greetz, could you please help? I am too lazy to write the word "greetings."

submitted by Mark Rucker

gregorian remixes - Those thecno songs that include sounds and instruments from other countries and eras of music.

e.g., On Sunday nights they have an entire hour-block of Gregorian remixes.

submitted by Ian Faynik

greige - The otherwise unexplicable color of office cubicles and "walls." An unknown mixture of grey and beige.

e.g., The new cubicles management ordered were a lovely shade of greige.

submitted by AndyChrist420

gremlin - Little kid that gets on you nerves.

e.g., The gremlins are coming!

submitted by Spunky

gremmie - One who is not very apt or talented in surfing. A beginner. A young inexperienced person.

e.g., Chris can't surf. He's a gremmie.

submitted by Mike Cuentas

greol - Great and cool.

e.g., I can't wait until tonight. It is going to be greol.

submitted by Brianna 7th English

grep - To search for something in background physical noise (ie, files, pile of unwashed clothes, desk detritus) compulsively for something that you know is there but can't remember where you put it. For example, car keys, passport, prophylactic, security swipe card, underpants, cigarettes. First seen in a breathless letter to Computer Business Review from a former Microsoft contractor spilling the beans on an adviser to M$ Chief Screaming Officer Steve Ballmer.

e.g., "So there I was in London Grepping for a cab, 'cos I was late for a meeting..."

submitted by Bent Udder - (www)

gress - (v.) 1. to do something, usually reserved for activities that could be listed under one of the 'gress' words: progress, egress, ingress, regress, etc.; 2. to do the sort of inexplicable things lawmakers do when gathered together (e.g., give speeches to entirely empty rooms, meet with lobbyists right outside of chamber doors while a vote is being taken, table or circle things, and the like); 3. to alter a project in any way (toward or away from completion); 4. to "give something a try" so as to figure out what it is or does (as opposed to "guess"). ADJ:_Gressive_, ADV:_Gressively_; N: Gression.

e.g., "George, we've all been at this research nonstop for almost two solid days: we've gotta get some sleep." "But we're finally making progress!" "Well, we're gressing, I suppose, but I'm not sure it's progress."

submitted by Scott M. Ellsworth

gretchen - Used for a female who is constantly in bitch mode. Nagging, yelling, dominating, etc.

e.g., Get off your Gretchen, sis. I'm tired of hearing you yell about nothing.

submitted by Ben Johnson - (www)

grettic - To explode, or make something explode.

e.g., If the balloon grettics, you can hear the sound.

submitted by Danyll

grexcellent - A combination of the words great and excellent, thus creating a more powerful word.

e.g., What you produced was not merely great, it was grexcellent.

submitted by Jesse Hunter

grfrk - Pronounced "gur-firk." When someone says something stupid you say this.

e.g., Pam, "Pass me the peanuts, I mean ashtray" Mel, "OK. Grfrk."

submitted by Melanie

gribble - To fall down stupidly.

e.g., Chris is so stupid. We were walking down the street and he was so focused on watching the waves he tripped and gribbled right into the street. Got hit by a bus and was killed. That was so funny. Oh, guess that would be “Chris was so stupid,” wouldn’t it?

submitted by puakehauLani

gribbly - Used to describe horrid fatty lumpy parts of certain foodstuffs, such as steaks, sausages, pork pies, and burgers.

e.g., I never eat the gribbly bits.

submitted by Mazrim Taim

gribney - anything annoying that sticks to something you don't want it to.

e.g., "I was shredding paper and now I have these gribneys all over my sweater." or "The cats ripped open a package and now there are foam gribneys all over the carpet."

submitted by j jacobson

gricer, gricing - A gricer is a railway enthusiast. Gricing is what railway enthusiasts do: ride on trains.

e.g., He was disconcerted to find that the only other passengers on the 0817 train from Broxbourne to Stratford were gricers all intent on gricing. this, the only train of the day to travel over the line from Seven Sisters to Stratford via South Tottenham.

submitted by David Flett

griddy - Describes a dull and predictable (albeit easily-navigable) layout of streets.

e.g., I loved New York, but it was so griddy. I missed finding unexpected little pathways.

submitted by Lisa Cirèlle Hansson - (www)

gridluck - One's good fortune in finding a viable alternative route around a traffic mess.

e.g., Due to the expert map-reading and navigational skills of his wife, Gerald's gridluck held throughout his trip from Washington to New York.

submitted by Nancy Israel

grief - (v) In an online computer game, to intentionally interfere with another player's experience (typically as a form of retribution.).

e.g., Why are you griefing me? I didn't throw the grenade on purpose...

submitted by Jim Heffman

grierson - To cause rapid evacuation of a room or other confined space by floating a particularly nasty fart or air biscuit. Most commonly, a grierson requires the assistance of a dish of curried lentils for maximal effect. The word is derived from the name of a rotund large-eared red-headed gentleman scholar of an unathletic nature, who claimed to be able to clear the audience of a 300-seat lecture theatre in 10 seconds.

(ED. Sufficient effort has gone into this for this word related to farting to be accepted. However, it is only fair to note that a "phil" or a "madison" or a "philmadison" is very much the same thing as a "grierson." If there's any difference at all, it's that a "phil" is more potent than a "grierson." Entries such as this are more suited to UrbanDictionary -- where it also appears. Have no idea which came first.)

e.g., From the Philadelphia Enquirer, 23rd March 2004: "Mass panic ensued after shouts of 'grierson, grierson' were heard in the darkened room. Firemen with breathing apparatus recovered the bodies of 18 of the deceased several hours later."

submitted by philmadison

grikadec - The indescribable discomfort one often feels around one's family.

e.g., I'm feeling a lot of grikadec today. (Said after a family gathering perhaps. This was the actual sentence that was used in the dream I had in which the word was defined.)

submitted by Joel Crabb - (www)

grill - One's face.

e.g., Hey! Get outta my grill.

submitted by Darla Norman

grill - To go out to a bar or restaurant that contains the word "grill" in its name.

e.g., Let's grill, gril--I mean "girl"!

submitted by McBain

grill-monkey - A low-level fast food restaurant employee whose primary job is to run the grill, but also used to run errands.

e.g., Guy on the assembly table: We're out of quarter meat. Where's my grill-monkey? Manager: Oh, I sent him to get shake mix out of the walk-in.

submitted by Schiz

grilled cd sandwich - A food that you make by putting a CD in between 2 slices of bread, putting it in a pan of butter and frying it evenly on both sides.

e.g., Mmmmm, grilled CD sandwiches are so toxic...

submitted by Squackle! - (www)

griller - This word has several different meanings. Any person asking too many questions, anyone giving you the evil eye because she is jealous of you, any child with something on her face.

e.g., I had to stop talking to that chick -- too many grillers at the end of the bar. | He wasn't sharing, so I took the little griller's crayons away.

submitted by andrew soik

grillion - Incalcuably large number, more than a google. From Douglas Adams.

e.g., King: "How many killed in the battle?" Lieutenant: "A grillion, mahlud."

submitted by oakvegas - (www)

grillustrious - Renowned for barbecuing expertise.

e.g., Our grillustrious neighbor invited us over for his specialty, shish-kebabs.

submitted by Nonesuch

grimble - 1. Any movie in which, no matter how important the man's job (stopping an assasination, saving the universe, generally preserving life), his wife does nothing but gripe about how it's breaking the family up and that he missed little Jimmy's birthday again. 2. A movie woman griping in this way.

e.g., Sissy Spacek did nothing but grimble all the way through the movie _JFK_.

submitted by Adam Leslie

grimble - The pretend grumble that TV presenters do when they get slightly wet or have to walk in a strong wind or eat odd food or something, just to prove that they're human and worthy of your sympathy in spite of being paid a lot of money to have adventures in an exciting exotic place.

e.g., Grimbling about the danger of bears, he sighed, then took in a panorama of such startling beauty that would have caused God himself to say: "Hmm, not bad."

submitted by Comander Amander

grimgribber -

Grimgribber: From Robin Bloor's Words You Don't Know

A grimgribber is a lawyer or attorney or solicitor. The term solicitor, by the way, is chiefly British. In America 'solicitor' usually denotes someone who directly seeks donations or to trade goods or services, such as a sales rep or a prostitute or a lawyer. In Britain solicitors aren’t allowed to advertise or directly solicit work and hence they are called solicitors. The meaning of grimgribber was originally legal jargon, but the term also came to embrace those who trade in it, until, sadly, it fell out of common usage. It is, in my opinion, a much more apposite word than 'lawyer,' 'solicitor,' or 'attorney' can ever hope to be.

According to the American Bar Association there are around currently 1.1 million grimgribbers practicing in the United States. That means one grimgribber for every 265 people. The typical US grimgribber is caucasian (90%) and male (75%). New York and California are the states with the highest number of grimgribbers, each with about 100,000 or so.

It's widely and wrongly believed that America has about 70% of all the worlds grimgribbers. Despite the fact that it is the most litigious country in the world, that suggestion is wide of the truth. Brazil has a grimgribber for every 326 Brazilians, New Zealand has one for every 391, Spain one for every 395 and so on. If you take the top seven grimgribberish countries, the US has about 50% of the grimgribbers. If you keep on adding countries to the list, you soon encounter India with one million grimgribbers, many of whom are eager to provide grimgribbing services to the US. It's doubtful whether the US even has 25% of the world's grimgribbers.

e.g., "We're grimgribbers from Corporate and we're here to help you." "Yeah right."

submitted by HD Fowler

grimmer - To jump into the middle of someone else's conversation without being invited.

e.g., Right in the middle of my story, he grimmered me and finished it.

submitted by Stephen Shannon

grimple - The unclassifiable mix of stuff usually found in a kitchen drawer, old purse, or a little boy's pockets.

e.g., Wow, you should have emptied the grimple out of your pockets before putting your pants in the washer.

submitted by Mary Henry - (www)

grimpster - A crucial tactical error.

e.g., Guy 1."Stevo just tried to scoop that blonde over there." Guy 2. "What happened?" Guy 1. "I'm not sure. Wearing that torn-up 'Party Naked' t-shirt was probably a grimpster."

submitted by Jersey Faceplant

grimwade's syndrome - Robophobia (q.v.), from Doctor Who story "The Robots Of Death."

e.g., Yikes! This guy's got Grimwade's Syndrome all right.

submitted by Adam Leslie

grinace - A facial expression denoting great pleasure and contentment. Antonym to "grimace."

e.g., If the outlook ain't grim, it's
Better to grin . . . ace.

submitted by Charlie Lesko

grinch - To take, use, or otherwise assume control of another's belongings.

e.g., 1. Don't grinch my french fries. Get your own. 2. If you try to grinch my boyfriend, I'll scratch your eyes out. 3. You grinched my CDs last week and I want them back.

submitted by Tena

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