About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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Standard English is, of course, the version of the language that has resulted from years of hand-wringing about the speed with which it has changed.

Kitty Burns Florey



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 4/19/2019

Totals
Posts - 2555
Comments - 2613
Hits - 2,135,765

Averages
Entries/day - 0.44
Comments/entry - 1.02
Hits/day - 370

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 5:15 PM Pacific


  03:46 PM

Friday again! It seems like it was only a week ago that we had the last one.

The new-to-me word this week is sexposition, a portmanteau of sex and exposition. I found it in the Clive James piece about Game of Thrones in the current New Yorker, but the term has been around since at least 2011. It's defined as "keeping viewers hooked by combining complex plot exposition with explicit sexual goings-on." GoT is (in)famous for sexposition, of course, but it's also been used in Deadwood, The Sopranos, and Homeland.


It interests me that the justification for sexposition is that it keeps viewers' interest during the talky bits, since it could be argued, I think, that it distracts viewers from the talky bits. Dunno, YMMV.

For unexpected etymology, today's story is about the dangers of assuming. In conversation the other day, the expression "conked on the noggin" came up, which moved me to ponder where we get conked from. I know that conker is a word used in the UK for "horse chestnut," and that there is a game called "conkers" involving ... something to do with hitting things with conkers. Conclusion: conked on the noggin must derive from being hit with a conker.

Not so fast, there, cowboy. The OED has a somewhat different idea. They gloss to conk as "to punch on the nose," deriving from a noun conk, meaning "nose," the etymology of which is "possibly a fig. application of conch, French conque shell." So "conk on the noggin" is related to "shell."

What about conker, the horse chestnut slash game? Possibly from conquer and referring to a game in which people ("boys") try to break one another's shells or chestnuts. So related, but as a cousin, not a parent.

Oh, and noggin? A small cup or mug, or a small measure (e.g. gill), also slang for the head. "Origin unknown." The figurative use for "head" goes back at least as far as 1769.

Like this? Read all the Friday words.

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