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Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

My word for the day is shambolic. It means “disorderly or chaotic” and is mainly used in British slang.

I love this word. The conceptual shape of the word and its parts is rich with texture and nuance that most words lack. It feels like there’s so much going on in there. The “sham” prefix makes me think of people deliberately trying to pass off or ignore the “shambles” alluded to by the word’s “shambol”. It’s also very nearly “symbolic”, with the “y” simply swapped out for “ha”, making the sham or shambles a sign of the times.

It’s not often I’m reminded of what wonders language can do, but it’s truly a wonder when a gem like this catches my attention and makes me marvel at the depth and complexity that can be embodied in a single word.

a conversation

Sunday, December 4th, 2005

[In the Robots movie intro, the robots tell you to turn off your cell phone and refrain from talking.]

Tim: Yeah, turn off your cell phone!
Sangeeta: Refrain from talking.

after you!

Friday, November 11th, 2005

After You!