Friday, November 6, 2009

Word games

Look it up: I found this sentence in a Washington Post story on Jeff Ruland, a former NBA star turned University of the District of Columbia coach. And just as he tries to teach his daughters the lessons he has learned throughout his pertinacious life, he hopes to impart those same teachings to the players on his team.

Naturally, I had to look up pertinacious.
Pronunciation: \ˌpər-tə-ˈnā-shəs\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin pertinac-, pertinax, from per- thoroughly + tenac-, tenax tenacious, from tenēre
Date: 1626

1 a : adhering resolutely to an opinion, purpose, or design b : perversely persistent
2 : stubbornly tenacious
synonyms see obstinate

— per·ti·na·cious·ly adverb

— per·ti·na·cious·ness noun

— per·ti·nac·i·ty \-ˈna-sə-tē\ noun
So Ruland is persistent and tenacious. Actually, that's a perfect definition of Ruland.

Another one: In another Post story, I found this paragraph. Trust dies. The worst people, the natural-born sycophants, attach themselves to the owner.

Yes, we'll look up sycophants.
Pronunciation: \-fənt also -ˌfant\
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin sycophanta slanderer, swindler, from Greek sykophantēs slanderer, from sykon fig + phainein to show — more at fancy
Date: 1575

: a servile self-seeking flatterer
synonyms see parasite

— sycophant adjective
The story's about the Redskins, so the term sycophants probably fits.

Contact: Reach me at or

(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)

More blog entries by Tom Gillispie

Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie

No comments:

Post a Comment