Monday, April 09, 2018

Frantic/Frenetic & Eager/Anxious





Mildred from Kalkaska asked about the difference between frantic and frenetic. Both are practically synonyms (Merriam-Webster defines frenetic as frantic), but there are shades of difference in meaning. Both describe hyperactivity resulting from the pressure of an event or a deadline. To my mind, frantic is a bit more negative and emotional. It verges on loss of control. Frenetic, on the other hand, seems to signify a degree of control, however tenuous. Rescuers become frantic as the hours roll on after an earthquake, so they engage in frenetic activity. Frenetic pairs with frenzied, and frantic pairs with desperate.

Frenetic tracks back to a Greek word meaning a delirious mind. It was originally a medical condition. Frantic is connected to the same Greek word. The insanity part has been diluted through the centuries.

Peter from Traverse City commented on the difference between eager and anxious. He asked if I was anxious for golf season to begin, then quickly changed it to eager. Of the two, anxious is more negative and stressful, based as it is on the word anxiety. It comes from a Latin word meaning to strangle, which would certainly cause distress and apprehension. Eager means filled with positive desire, keenly anticipating something imminent. It comes from an Anglo-Norman word that meant impatiently desirous. So I am eager for golf to begin again, but anxious that my worsening arthritis may make my game even more wretched than it has been.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find some podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.




Thursday, March 29, 2018

Sporting Venues


       

Scott from Buckley asked about the different names for the venues in which sports are played. Let’s run through amphitheater, arena, coliseum, and stadium.

An amphitheater literally means a structure with two parts that face each other and look down upon an open area where the spectacle or performance takes place. The two parts are conjoined, resulting in an oval shape. The word came to us from ancient Greek. A fun part of my childhood involved attending events at Chicago’s International Amphitheater. There were stock shows, rodeos, circuses, and other rousing events. In 1999, alas, it bit the dust.

An arena originally was the open space in an amphitheater where the action occurred. The name derives from the Latin word for sand, which was strewn upon the floor to soak up the blood of fallen gladiators. Older fans will miss the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, where the Red Wings skated on ice instead of sand.

A coliseum was a gigantic or colossal amphitheater. Construction began on the very first one during the reign of the Roman Emperor Vespasian. Huge spectacles needed larger buildings, and coliseums filled the bill.  The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a well-known modern example.

The original stadiums were built for foot races by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The name came from a measure of length—usually one-eighth of a Roman mile, equivalent to 1,618 yards. That was the customary length of the track, though there were variations. Now stadiums can feature a wide array of sporting events. Michigan Stadium (The Big House), located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is the largest stadium in the country.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find some podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.





Thursday, March 22, 2018

Flex and Flux





Ned from Lake Ann asked about the difference between flex and flux. The first difference is origin: flex came from a Latin word that meant to bend, while flux came from a Latin word that meant to flow.

The second difference is meaning. Flux has been used in the following senses:
·      an excessive discharge from the bowels or other organs;
·      a running from the eyes or mouth;
·      the flowing of the tide or of a stream;
·      a continuous stream of people;
·      a copious flood of talk;
·      continuous changes of condition or substance;
·      the rate of flow of any fluid across a given area;
·      the number of lines of magnetic induction or electric displacement;
·      any substance mixed with a metal to facilitate its fusion.

Flex has one major meaning -- to bend a joint. However, the –flex– root shows up in a couple hundred of words, including
·      anteflexion: the condition of being bent forwards;
·      chemoreflex: a reflex response to a chemical stimulus;
·      circumflex:  a curved accent mark to indicate vowel quality;
·      contraflexure: the condition of being bent or curved in opposite directions;
·      dorsiflex: to bend the foot towards its dorsal surface;
·      flexibility: pliancy;
·      flexion: the act of bending;
·      genuflexion: bending of the knee;
·      reflex: automatic reaction.

Apropos of nothing, I note that all five vowels can be inserted into those same consonants: flax, flex, flix, flux, and the misspelling flox. Flix, aside from being slang for motion pictures, is an old term for the down of a beaver.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.




Thursday, March 08, 2018

Philobats & Ocnophils



Both words are constructions using Greek word parts, and both are used almost exclusively
 by therapists. They are attributed to psychiatrist Michael Balint, and they appeared in the 
International Journal of Psycho-analysis in 1955.

A philobat is a person who enjoys coping with dangerous and uncertain situations – a thrill 
seeker who goes it alone. Dr. Balint combined the Greek word part philo- (one who loves) 
and extracted the word part –bat from acrobat (a rope walker).

An ocnophil is a person who avoids dangerous and uncertain situations. When threats arise, he or she clutches at objects of security, especially other people. Balint combined the Greek word part ocno- (hesitation) with –phil (one who loves).

While not the most euphonious of terms, they do stake out polar opposites.


Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about two year’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.




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