Favorite

Words 

Their eyes cleaved to her cleavage:

“ ‘And then, cleavage!' The CNN news anchor couldn't have sounded more excited as a white arrow blinked on the screen, pointing down the New York senator's chest toward the point where her V-necked shirt gave way to slightly more skin — we're talking millimeters — than Hillary Clinton usually reveals.” A couple of paragraphs later in the same column, we find “From John Edwards' $400 haircuts to Barack Obama's swimming trunks, the line between political journalism and the gossip pages appears to have broken down. Not all of this is the media's fault: Part of it is a result of our new cultural politics. Whereas politicians used to appeal to voters on a mix of interests and issues, Republican political strategists today believe voters cleave to presidential candidates based foremost on cultural affiliation.”

Some words have two meanings that contradict each other. Cleave is one of them. It can mean “to separate,” and what it produces in that case is cleavage. It can also mean “to cling to.” To avoid confusing the reader, most writers don't employ the conflicting meanings as close together as the columnist quoted here did.

Sanction is another two-faced word. It can mean “to permit” or “to penalize.” The Word Detective says there's a name for such words. They're contranyms.

It gives you fever:

Dickson's Baseball Dictionary has no listing for pigtail, a word we discussed last week, but it does have the intriguing Peggy Lee fastball. According to Dickson, this is “A fastball that travels more slowly than expected, or has nothing on it. The term is used in connection with batters who see the pitch and are reminded of Lee's 1969 sad song, ‘Is That All There Is' (words by Jenny Leiber and music by Mike Stoller).” I'm doubtful that Peggy Lee fastball was ever used by anyone other than the sportswriter who created it. But I'm certain that the Lieber of Lieber and Stoller is Jerry, not Jenny.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

  |  

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Judge Griffen dismisses execution challenge; says hands tied by 'shameful' Ark. Supreme Court ruling

    Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled today that he had no choice based on  a past Arkansas Supreme Court decision  but to dismiss a lawsuit by Death Row inmates seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process.But the judge did so unhappily with sharp criticism of the Arkansas Supreme Court for failing to address critical points raised in the lawsuit.
  • Metroplan sets public hearing on 30 Crossing

    The controversial 30 Crossing project to fatten up seven miles of Interstate 30 from U.S. Highway 67 in North Little Rock to Interstate 530 in Little Rock will once again get a public hearing, thanks to a vote of the Metroplan board Wednesday.
  • New suit argues Bruce Ward mentally unfit for execution

    A new lawsuit argues that Bruce Ward, scheduled to die by lethal injection next month, is not mentally competent to be executed. It says his condition has been worsened by decades of solitary confinement.

Latest in Words

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Brant Collins named Group Travel Manager for Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Brant Collins named Group Travel Manager for Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal

Event Calendar

« »

March

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Hope for Gray

    The Arkansas Democratic Party recently elected House Minority Leader Michael John Gray (D-Augusta), a Woodruff County farmer, over Denise Garner, a retired oncology nurse practitioner and founder of Feed Communities of Fayetteville, to replace outgoing chair Vince Insalaco of Little Rock.
  • Never his fault

    Unlike his personal hero Vladimir Putin, President Trump can't have his political opponents thrown into prison, shot dead in the street or flung off fourth-floor balconies.
  • The two cities of Little Rock

    The Little Rock City Board illustrated the capital city's division again last week.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: More on pits

    • And don't tell me you care about any toddler. That toddler's suffering is but a…

    • on March 30, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Many different dogs bite many different people. Before reacting out of hysteria and ignorance, better…

    • on March 30, 2017
  • Re: Never his fault

    • Good point. Onward!

    • on March 30, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation