. .restless and indomitable, scouring like a stormy petrel the angry ocean of debate.
- -- Lytton Strachey, Eminent Victorians
Word of the Day for Thursday, June 1, 2006
stormy petrel \STOR-mee-PET-ruhl\, noun:
1. Any of various small sea birds of the family Hydrobatidae, having dark plumage with paler underparts; also called storm petrel.
2. One who brings discord or strife, or appears at the onset of trouble.
But far from a 'pet' of the Communist regime, Gorky, the "stormy petrel of the revolution," also condemned the revolution early on as a "cruel experiment" with the Russian people "doomed to failure."
- -- Valentina Kolesnikova, "Maxim Gorky: Hostage of the Revolution", Russian Life, June 1, 1996
And, after grading a huge pile of semester tests, this one had special appeal:
Word of the Day for Wednesday, May 31, 2006
pleonasm \PLEE-uh-naz-uhm\, noun:
1. The use of more words than are necessary to express an idea; as, "I saw it with my own eyes."
2. An instance or example of pleonasm.
3. A superfluous word or expression.
Dougan uses many words where few would do, as if pleonasm were a way of wringing every possibility out of the material he has, and stretching sentences a form of spreading the word.
- -- Paula Cocozza, "Book review: How Dynamo Kiev beat the Luftwaffe", Independent, March 2, 2001
Such a phrase from President Nixon's era, much favored by politicians, is "at this moment in time." Presumably these five words mean "now." That pleonasm probably does little harm except, perhaps, to the reputation of the speaker.
- -- Eoin McKiernan, "Last Word: Special Relationships", Irish America, August 31, 1994
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! And to Spiro, too...