Category: World of words

Q&A Rare form

Q: Hi AWC A: Hello. Are you ready to begin? Q: Absolutely! I’m rearing to go. A: Actually, if that were the case, you’d be “raring to go”. Q: Really? A: Really. Q: “Raring”? What even IS that? I’ve only heard of “rare” – and never as a... read more

Word of the week: Asperity

Asperity (noun) [as'peruhtee] This means sharpness or harshness of temper. So you might say: "The teacher was frustrated with the Year 9 class and spoke to them with asperity." Listen to Valerie and Allison chat more about this and more on the world of writing, blogging and publishing... read more

Q&A: One nation?

Q: Is a country a singular or plural entity? A: Good question. After all, a nation can be both a united front but also made up of millions of people. Q: Exactly! So, is it “Australia play Thailand in the next soccer qualifier” or “Australia PLAYS Thailand”? A: Well, it... read more

Q&A: Tricks of the trade

Each week here at the Australian Writers’ Centre, we dissect and discuss, contort and retort, ask and gasp at the English language and all its rules, regulations and ridiculousness. It’s a celebration of language, masquerading as a passive-aggressive whinge about words and weirdness. This week, we’re learning... read more

Word of the week: Comstockery

Comstockery (noun) [kom'stokuhree] According to the Macquarie Dictionary, this is: "the overzealous censorship of the fine arts and literature, often mistaking outspokenly honest works for salacious ones." And it is named after Anthony Comstock, a US moralist. So you might say "The conservative lobby encouraged comstockery when they were... read more

Q&A: Plane vs plain

Each week here at the Australian Writers’ Centre, we dissect and discuss, contort and retort, ask and gasp at the English language and all its rules, regulations and ridiculousness. It’s a celebration of language, masquerading as a passive-aggressive whinge about words and weirdness. This week, we're keeping... read more

Word of the week: Magisterial

Magisterial (adjective) [majuhs'tearreeuh] You might think this sounds like it comes from majesty, but it doesn't. It actually comes from the word that gave us magistrate, which incidentally used to be schoolteacher. So magisterial means when something is done in the manner of a domineering school teacher. So... read more

Q&A: Cue vs queue

Each week here at the Australian Writers’ Centre, we dissect and discuss, contort and retort, ask and gasp at the English language and all its rules, regulations and ridiculousness. It’s a celebration of language, masquerading as a passive-aggressive whinge about words and weirdness. This week, cue the "queue... read more

Word of the week: Amanuensis

Amanuensis (noun) [uhmanyooh'ensuhs] Did you know this is a fancy word for "secretary"? It comes from Ancient Rome when an amanuensis was employed to take dictation or copy manuscripts. These days it can refer to any kind of secretary or assistant that helps with words. So you might say... read more

Word of the week: Eponymous

Eponymous (adjective) [uh'ponuhmuhs] This comes from the Greek word "eponym" (meaning "significant name") and is the name of the person after whom a label or place or product or invention is named. So you refer to "Ivanka Trump's eponymous label that was dropped by the department store Nordstrom... read more

Q&A: Bought vs brought

Each week here at the Australian Writers’ Centre, we dissect and discuss, contort and retort, ask and gasp at the English language and all its rules, regulations and ridiculousness. It’s a celebration of language, masquerading as a passive-aggressive whinge about words and weirdness. This week, it's bought... read more

Word of the week: Lacustrine

Lacustrine (adjective) [luh'kustruyn] Thanks for Matthew Morrison @acutemattiosis for pinging us this word which he, in turn, read in a tweet by Rob Macfarlane. "Lacustrine" usually refers to things like plants or animals that live or occur on or in lakes. So you must say “That’s a lacustrine... read more

Q&A: Impression vs impersonation

Each week here at the Australian Writers’ Centre, we dissect and discuss, contort and retort, ask and gasp at the English language and all its rules, regulations and ridiculousness. It’s a celebration of language, masquerading as a passive-aggressive whinge about words and weirdness. This week we're making... read more

Word of the week: Abstruse

Abstruse (adjective) [uhb'stroohs] If you think this word is hard to understand then you would be right! It actually means "difficult to understand or esoteric". So you might say that "He had an abstruse approach to solving the problem." Listen to Valerie and Allison chat more about this and... read more

Q&A: Loath vs loathe

Each week here at the Australian Writers’ Centre, we dissect and discuss, contort and retort, ask and gasp at the English language and all its rules, regulations and ridiculousness. It’s a celebration of language, masquerading as a passive-aggressive whinge about words and weirdness. This week it's all... read more

Word of the week: Callipygian

Callipygian (adjective) [kal-uh-pij-ee-uh n] Believe it or not, this means “a well rounded bum”! So you would say “Kim Kardashian has made a business out of trading off her callipygian figure.” Listen to Valerie and Allison chat more about this and more on the world of... read more

Q&A: Throws vs throes

Each week here at the Australian Writers’ Centre, we dissect and discuss, contort and retort, ask and gasp at the English language and all its rules, regulations and ridiculousness. It’s a celebration of language, masquerading as a passive-aggressive whinge about words and weirdness. This week we're catching... read more

Word of the week: Ignoble

Ignoble (adjective) [ig-noh-buhl] When the letters ig are in front of an n, that usually mean "not" so this simply means "not noble". The Macquarie Dictionary goes on to say that it's of "low character" or "low grade". So you might say "He had ignoble motives." To... read more

Q&A: Curb vs kerb

Each week here at the Australian Writers’ Centre, we dissect and discuss, contort and retort, ask and gasp at the English language and all its rules, regulations and ridiculousness. It’s a celebration of language, masquerading as a passive-aggressive whinge about words and weirdness. This week we’re kicking... read more

Word of the week: Lubricious

Lubricious (adjective) [loo-brish-uh s] According to the book 500 Words Your Should Know: "Another word for lewd, lascivious or indeed libidinous, though this is more formal than any of them. It's from the same Latin root as lubricate and lubricant, with their implications of slipperiness and reducing... read more