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Posts Tagged ‘language’

petrichor meaning

It’s always nice and exciting to discover a new word that resonates with you. And an added bonus is that it has a melodious quality.

The word is “petrichor” which means: the smell of earth after rain.

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attitude of gratitude

Blessings = barakah (Arabic) = berkat (Malay)

= Gratitude (universal)

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Palin...wants to trademark her name. (Pic: Reuters)

Sarah Palin is taking steps to trademark her name, it was reported recently.

The former 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate and former Alaska governor filed paperwork with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register the trademark.

“Sarah Palin listed usage of the trademark for a website featuring information about political elections; political issues; and educational and entertainment services, including motivational speaking in the fields of politics, culture, business and values, “ Mercurynews.com reports.

Palin is a figure who often excites strong emotions, from both her supporters and critics. Since we are on the topic of the usage of names, let’s talk about an interesting aspect of language. That is, how new words are created out of names of people or objects, and then assume popular usage.

Palin’s name, for instance, based on her performance in the 2008 elections has led to the creatioin of a new descriptive word “palinesque”. It has mainly negative meaning such as “superficial, lacking in depth”. The Urban Dictionary defines it as “When someone doesn’t answer a question, and immediately changes the topic.”

In the case of object names that have become verbs, two come into mind: the Xerox printer and Google search engine. Some years back, the name Xerox soon became synonymous with “to make a photocopy”, as in “Can you please xerox this for me?”

More recently, the name Google has become verb which means using the search engine to find out more information. As an example: sometimes, when you meet a person at an event and are curious to find out more about him/her, later you Google the person’s name. (A friend thinks this practice invades a person’s privacy but I suspect most people have done this.)

fatal attraction

Glenn Close in Fatal attraction, which means an out of control attraction. (Pic:knowthemovies.com)

And then there is the title from the movie “Fatal Attraction” starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close. The phrase “fatal attraction” has been absorbed into the language to mean an obsessive and dangerous attraction, or when a spurned partner becomes vengeful.

It’s quite fascinating to see what other name will capture people’s imagination, and take on its own meaning in the living language that we use everyday.

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