Disorder of a Man of Letters — Xah's Belles-lettres

from the haughty emotions of English lexicon, stylistic concerns, decipherment of grammar & idioms, linguisticality, literature & literality, and logicality.

etymology of calculus

1660s, from Latin calculus “reckoning, account,” originally “pebble used as a reckoning counter,” diminutive of calx (genitive calcis) “limestone” (see chalk (n.)). Modern mathematical sense is a shortening of differential calculus.

Also used from 1732 to mean kidney stones, etc., then generally for “concretion occurring accidentally in the animal body,” such as dental plaque. Related: Calculous (adj.).


mesmeric, jingle, jangle

Dusty Springfield ♪《the Windmills of Your Mind》 🎶

vocabulary: ebullience

Mathematicians are not famed for ebullience and many prefer research – deep, solitary labour – to the challenge of communicating complex abstractions to young adults.

Berkeley to fire 'love letter to learning' professor By Rory Carroll. @ http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/17/berkeley-math-professor-alexander-coward-campus-battle

hilarious. Little Red Riding Hood (Politically Correct version)

here's original, 1697. “Grandmother, what big teeth you have got!” Little Red Riding Hood (original), 1697, By Charles Perrault

Movie: The Man From Earth

Your Wrong Magazine

grammer english nazi humor

Literature: A Modest Proposal (by Jonathan Swift) (repost)

Online English Dictionary Tools (repost)

my frend, u dont no English

Draw a breth for progress,
Tred abrest ahed.
Fight agenst old spelling,
Better “red” than “read”.
Spred the words at brekfast,
Mesure them in bed,
Dream of welth and tresure,
Better “ded” than “dead”.


English-language spelling reform

语言学 好酷! Etymology of Cool! 中英文的交流

etymology of pettifogger

programer = pettifogger, mousing to'n'fro, daily.

1560s, from petty; the second element possibly from obsolete Dutch focker, from Flemish focken “to cheat,” or from cognate Middle English fugger, from Fugger the renowned family of merchants and financiers of 15c.-16c. Augsburg. In German, Flemish and Dutch, the name became a word for “monopolist, rich man, usurer.”

A ‘petty Fugger’ would mean one who on a small scale practices the dishonourable devices for gain popularly attributed to great financiers; it seems possible that the phrase ‘petty fogger of the law,’ applied in this sense to some notorious person, may have caught the popular fancy. [OED first edition, in a rare burst of pure speculation]

However, OED also calls attention to pettifactor “legal agent who undertakes small cases” (1580s), which, though attested slightly later, might be the source of this. Related: Pettifoggery.


hit statue rock bottom
“i knew the moment, when i slapped this statue on the ass, that i had hit rock bottom”

《the Borderline》 from 《Macross Plus》, Meaning of Sultry 🎶

The word sultry, describes this song.

etymology of lemon

etymology of lemon

“worthless thing,” 1909, American English slang; from lemon (n.1), perhaps via criminal slang sense of “a person who is a loser, a simpleton,” which is perhaps from the notion of someone a sharper can “suck the juice out of.” A pool hall hustle was called a lemon game (1908); while to hand someone a lemon was British slang (1906) for “to pass off a sub-standard article as a good one.” Or it simply may be a metaphor for something which leaves a bad taste in one's mouth.


Chinese is the Most Ambiguous Spoken Language

In recent years, due to contact with online communities in China, i find that, spoken Chinese, is filled with ambiguities. That is, if we rank ambiguity of languages, as in, how many times people have to ask “what did you say” or “what do you mean”, then, Chinese would rank number 1, among all existing spoken languages that are still in use.

Here's a joke, that came from ambiguity.



A pasigraphy (from Greek pasi ‘to all’ and graph ‘write’) is a writing system where each written symbol represents a concept (rather than a word or sound or series of sounds in a spoken language). The aim (as with ordinary numerals 1, 2, 3, etc.) is to be intelligible to persons of all languages.

The term was first applied to a system proposed in 1796, though a number of pasigraphies had been devised prior to that; Leopold Einstein reviews 60 attempts at creating an international auxiliary language, the majority of the 17th-18th century projects being pasigraphies of one kind or another,[1] while Arika Okrent includes a list of 500 in her book on the subject, with samples of many.[2] Leibniz wrote about the Alphabet of human thought and Alexander von Humboldt corresponded with Peter Stephen Du Ponceau (1760-1844) who proposed a universal phonetic alphabet.

Examples of pasigraphies include Blissymbols and Real Character.


An Essay towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language

English: Etymology of Execute

serif vs sans-serif font legibility debate. Conclusion: there's no conclusive scientific evidence showing one is better.

Elton John ♪《Nikita》 🎶

vocabulary: merry, maurading, tutelage

While Cooper and his merry gang of astronauts are maurading around the furthest reaches of the galaxy, Cooper's daughter Renesmee grows up into brilliant astrophysicist Jessica Chastain. Chastain spends her entire life under the tutelage of Michael Caine, attempting to solve an apparently unsolvable equation.

Let's talk about the plot of “Interstellar” By Darren Franich. @ http://www.ew.com/article/2014/11/07/interstellar-plot-explained

“They say! What say they? Let them say.” (Scotch).

“This was the motto of the Keiths, Earl Marischal, one of whom founded Marischal College, in the University of Aberdeen.”—Andrew Cheviot.

The Tale of Genji (源氏物語 Genji monogatari)

i'm thinking, not to Capitalize Titles or First word of a sentence anymore. As in, banish it in my writings all together. Language & English Language & English

On the Ignorance of the Learned

The description of persons who have the fewest ideas of all others are mere authors and readers. —William Hazlitt

Table Talk : Essays on Men and Manners. Essay viii. On the Ignorance of the Learned By William Hazlitt. @ https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hazlitt/william/table-talk/v1.8.html

What is a Tech Geeker? see comment by Peter Johnson What is a Tech Geeker?#comment-2044408048

William Hazlitt (10 April 1778 – 18 September 1830) was an English writer, remembered for his humanistic essays and literary criticism, as the greatest art critic of his age,[1] and as a drama critic, social commentator, and philosopher. He was also a painter.

He is now considered one of the great critics and essayists of the English language,[2][3] placed in the company of Samuel Johnson and George Orwell.[4][5] Yet his work is currently little read and mostly out of print.[6][7] During his lifetime he befriended many people who are now part of the 19th-century literary canon, including Charles and Mary Lamb, Stendhal, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and John Keats.[8]

William Hazlitt

The Moronicities of Typography: Hyphen, Dash, Quotation Marks, Apostrophe (repost)

English Phonetics: IPA vs American Heritage Dictionary vs Merriam-Webster (repost)

Faust, Selling Your Soul to the Devil

Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend. He is a scholar who is highly successful yet dissatisfied with his life, which leads him to make a pact with the Devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. The Faust legend has been the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical works that have reinterpreted it through the ages. Faust and the adjective Faustian imply a situation in which an ambitious person surrenders moral integrity in order to achieve power and success for a delimited term.[1]


English Writing Style: Oxford Comma and Strippers (repost)

3rd world blind 01
Third World Blind

How to Increase Your English Vocabulary? (repost)

Online English Dictionary Tools (updated)

Word Frequencies in Titus Andronicus

Julie Taymor's Titus

The Masque of the Red Death by somniferum
《The Masque of the Red Death》 By Edgar Allan Poe 〔image by somniferum. image source

the Barbarism of Specialization (philosophy) (by Jose Ortega Y Gasset)

Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence

hi, i heard you failed in English?

WHO telled you? it is unpossible. I sawed the result yesterday, i passed away.

ok bye!

bye, god blast u.

How the Steel Was Tempered

how the steel was tempered
《How the Steel Was Tempered》 amazon

Nikolai Alexeevich Ostrovsky (Russian: Николай Алексеевич Островский; 1904 – 1936) was a Soviet socialist realist writer. He is best known for his renowned novel 《How the Steel Was Tempered》 on the Russian Civil War, when he is paralyzed and blind.

from Nikolai Ostrovsky

On Writing — A Memoir of the Craft By Stephen King. @ amazon

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction By William Zinsser. @ amazon

garments, rent, timidity, incensed, assuage, imploring, impious, parricide, affinity, resentment. Words in: Art: The Rape of the Sabine Women

Official Lincoln #SteerTheScript Commercial 📺

English Accent: Why Kevin Spacey's accent in House of Cards sounds off 📺

Why Is Academic Writing So Academic? By Joshua Rothman. @ http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/why-is-academic-writing-so-academic

English Phonetics: IPA vs American Heritage Dictionary vs Merriam-Webster

Poem: The Bell Tolls for Thee; 鐘為汝鳴

3D Sex and Zen Extreme Ecstasy 《肉蒲团》 《The Carnal Prayer Mat》

etymology of “imbecile”

imbecile «1540s, imbecille “weak, feeble” (especially in reference to the body), from Middle French imbecile (15c.), from Latin imbecillus “weak, feeble” (see imbecility). Sense shifted to mental weakness from mid-18c. As a noun, “feeble-minded person,” it is attested from 1802. Traditionally an adult with a mental age of roughly 6 to 9 (above an idiot but beneath a moron).»

World Literature Classics

constructed language book

discovered 〔In the Land of Invented Languages: Adventures in Linguistic Creativity, Madness, and Genius By Arika Okrent. @ amazon

see also Xah's lojban Tutorial

the Diva Dance Song from The Fifth Element 🎶

spurious, ostentatious, parading, bitingly, destitute, farcical, epistle, acceding. Oscar Wilde's Tomb and Quips

buffed, caricature, pompous, bombastic, belligerent, annihilated. Movie 《300》 and Battle of Thermopylae Movie 《300》 and Battle of Thermopylae

《The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade》 By Edgar Allan Poe (repost)

the word “whose” should be ban'd. It should be just “who's”, meaning, “possess” or {who is, who has}.

in fact, the whole bag of whom should be ban'd. Just WHO! ye erudite and recondite academician fks.

the term “Organic compound” shoulda be ban'd.

A disfigured and mentally unstable mercenary, Deadpool originally appeared as a villain in an issue of New Mutants, and later in issues of X-Force. The character has since starred in several ongoing series, and shares titles with other characters such as Cable. Also known as the “Merc with a Mouth,” Deadpool is famous for his talkative nature and his tendency to break the fourth wall, which is used by writers to humorous effect.


The fourth wall is the imaginary “wall” at the front of the stage in a traditional three-walled box set in a proscenium theatre, through which the audience sees the action in the world of the play. The idea of the fourth wall was made explicit by philosopher and critic Denis Diderot and spread in 19th-century theatre with the advent of theatrical realism, which extended the idea to the imaginary boundary between any fictional work and its audience.

Fourth wall

A proscenium (Greek: προσκήνιον) is the area of a theatre surrounding the stage opening. A proscenium arch is the arch over this area.


etymology of “thorough”

the methodology is like blood seeping a carpet, slowly & surely, thorough & thorough.

thorough «c.1300, adjectival use of Old English þuruh (adv.) “from end to end, from side to side,” stressed variant of þurh (adv., prep.); see through. Related: thoroughly; thoroughness.»

the word “flour” means “flower”

John DeFrancis Idiot on Chinese Language

offices → A usually beneficial act performed for another.

Gulliver's Travels. PART I — A VOYAGE TO LILLIPUT

instrument → a legal document.

Gulliver's Travels. PART I — A VOYAGE TO LILLIPUT

On the Evolution of Semantics of Roommate/Housemate Phraseme and the Ethology and Ethnology of Inhabitants of American Empire and United Kingdom with Cohabitation's Effects on Bathroom Sanitation

when you have a woman housemate, all of a sudden, your kitchen & bathroom are clean.

“I was sorry to find more mercy in a heathen, than in a brother christian.” Gulliver's Travels. PART III. A VOYAGE TO LAPUTA, BALNIBARBI, LUGGNAGG, GLUBBDUBDRIB, AND JAPAN.

i'm a sybarite with lots fripperies!

English: Etymology of Rocket, and Rocket (火箭) in Chinese

Microsoft Research: Real Time Speech Translation with Same Voice, from English to Chinese by Machine 📺

The lure of vocabulary, the depth of literature, the question of style, the logic of linguistics, the ills of English, and the cure by writing. Xah Wordy English

if you went with a girl to watch a 3D film, don't forget that it's her the next day. 📺 English Accent: British Accent 2 📺

“I have done thy mother.” 《Titus Andronicus》 Act 4 Scene 2

饿 Lojban & Chinese tutorial with voice recording Lojban & Chinese: A Word A Day

The English language is derived from two main sources. One is Latin, the florid language of ancient Rome. The other is Anglo-Saxon, the plain languages of England and northern Europe. The words derived from Latin are the enemy — they will strangle and suffocate everything you write. The Anglo-Saxon words will set you free.

Writing English as a Second Language By William Zinsser (The American Scholar). @ http://theamericanscholar.org/writing-english-as-a-second-language/

(via Sujith Abraham)

Poetry in Chinese vs English

月不圆花不好… 浮云散明月照人来,团圆美满今朝最。清浅池塘鸳鸯戏水,红裳翠盖并蒂莲开。双双对对恩恩爱爱,这园风儿向着好花吹。柔情蜜意满人间。周璇 ♪《月圆花好》 🎶

Poetry in Chinese, is far deeper than English can possibly ever go. Chinese language,… here's a brief random Xah Edu Corner brief: Chinese language, is such that, not going with formality n all, but for ya American monolinguists to get a sense of Chinese, u can think of stringing together similar words that are on the ballpark of your meaning. And that's how Chinese is. In a sense, every phrase is a idiom. Note the word Every. So, when you study Chinese, you are actually study history. Chinese lang, is rather terrible for any science or engineering work. But for poetry, a english saying is that poetry is like honey, but in Chinese, it's, like, honey injected directly into your bosom.

Virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese; consumes itself to the very paring, and so dies with feeding his own stomach.

All's Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare

now there's a “random” button to randomize the list of words. See: Vocabulary: Words in Olympia Reader

“O Thou Whom I must no longer address as the Perfection of all Beauty; but let me beg thee to vouchsafe thy servant a sight of thine interior.” SECTION 19. — How, though the Sphere shewed me other mysteries of Spaceland, I still desire more; and what came of it

word of the day: preponderance

Why the preponderance of animals over human images? GRE Words, page 8

Quora's Future

word of the day: infirmities, licentiousness

This illustrious person had very usefully employed his studies, in finding out effectual remedies for all diseases and corruptions to which the several kinds of public administration are subject, by the vices or infirmities of those who govern, as well as by the licentiousness of those who are to obey.


Vocabulary From The Simpsons

Vocabulary: 256 Words in Olympia Reader

today's words: lambasted, temerity

AVN lambasted Hustler for having the temerity to question AVN's awards.

see: SAT words, page 2

How to be a Great Writer in the Digital Age

how to be a great writer in the digital age. The Writing Style of Xah Lee

check out Steven Pinker's new book 《The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century》 amazon, seems he'd approve.

review your words: dysphemism et al. Xah's Belles-lettres Blog Archive 2013-10 – 2013-10

Today's word: concourse. “Mr. Gulliver growing weary of the concourse of curious people coming to him at his house.” Gulliver's Travels: Front Matter

English Accent: British Accent 📺

revamped index. Wordy English: Vocabulary Compilation with Usage Examples

word of the day: polygynous, inimical

Meanwhile, male parental investment also makes the man's naturally polygynous bent inimical to his wife's reproductive interests.

GRE Words, page 9

word of the day: Prostrating

Prostrating myself mentally before my Guide, I cried, “How it is, O divine ideal of consummate loveliness and wisdom that I see thy inside, and yet cannot discern thy heart, thy lungs, thy arteries, thy liver?”

SECTION 18. — How I came to Spaceland, and what I saw there

Several contrivances of the author to please the king and queen. Gulliver's Travels. PART II. A VOYAGE TO BROBDINGNAG

Xah's Belles-lettres Blog Archive 2013-09 – 2013-09

How to Tell the Difference Between Chinese, Japanese, Korean?

English Accent: Scottish Accent 📺 (updated, new video, Scottish referendum debate)

word of the day: boustrophedon Words, page 4

word of the day: expletives galore.

wold: n. An unforested rolling plain; a moor.

On her fair bosom caskets twain I scanned,
Sealed fast with musk seals lovers to withstand.
With arrowy glances stand on guard her eyes,
Whose shafts would shoot who dares put forth a hand.

The Third Kalandar's Tale

That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man, If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.

—good old William Shakespeare

see also 《The Tragedy Of Titus Andronicus》 by Shakespeare

coitus interruptus, is when, you started and got interrupted.

Unicode is quite interesting, not just for fun emoticons 👽 and math ∑. Because, when you go deep, it is about ALL grapheme and logographs and symbols of ALL human's writing systems, past and present. Unicode Characters ☢ ☯ ☭ ∑ ∞ ♀ ♂ ♥

from a interesting post by John Baez, at https://plus.google.com/117663015413546257905/posts/3Lf4USCBB2b


Poetry: Brevity of a Woman's Life: To His Coy Mistress

xah's rumination extempore! con equipment

rumination «c.1600, “act of ruminating; act of meditating,” from Latin ruminationem (nominative ruminatio) “a chewing the cud,” noun of action from past participle stem of ruminare (see ruminate).»

extempore «1550s (adv.), 1630s (n.), from Latin phrase ex tempore “offhand, in accordance with (the needs of) the moment,” literally “out of time,” from ex “out of” (see ex-) + tempore, ablative of tempus (genitive temporis) “time” (see temporal). Of speaking, strictly “without preparation, without time to prepare,” but now often with a sense merely of “without notes or a teleprompter.”»

fixed the random page button problem. Go to top of this page and click it. Now it doesn't almost always point you to some novels.

Hackers and the Foobar Phrase

The Game “go”, 碁 vs 棋, Japanese & Chinese

when you see a word that's spell'd wrong but used by others often, you deem it eyesore. like, wtf.

Some Japanese chars are like that to Chinese. The char 碁 (meaning “board game”) in Japanese is like that.

about the char's etymology, i think it was original a Chinese char, but fell out of use. We use the char 棋 instead.

also, many terms in English came from Japan leaves a bad taste for chinese. Because, it was Chinese. The go game, is one example. It's known as “go” because it came from the character 碁 used in Japan, is pronounced “go”. The character in is pronounced “qi2” in Chinese, same as 棋.

it's known by Japanese name because Japanese popularized the game in 1990s. (while chinese is doing sino-jap war and civil war and Mao and cultural revolution)

a proper name in English for the game would be “surround game”, or “surround chess”.

writing & publishing: content vs grammar

you have 2 choices.

if content is more important, then ① is better. later on you can edit. first you need to get the content out, when you have 10 million things in your head.

but of course, if you are concerned about readership (aka marketing), then ② is more important. because, when a book doesn't have a attractive cover, it gets no sniffing.

comment at https://plus.google.com/+XahLee/posts/7hrk51biRBy

The Moronicities of Typography: Hyphen, Dash, Quotation Marks, Apostrophe (minor update)

Mono ♪《Slimcea Girl》 🎶

Mono ♪《Ingénue》 🎶

café, décor, déjà vu, résumé, risqué, étude, fiancée, Ingénue, crème de la crème, ménage à trois, coup de grâce, mêlée, my rôle, raison d'être, zoölogy, reënact, naïve, Chloë, façade. Accent Marks: Trema, Umlaut, Macron, Circumflex, and All That (repost)

Garden Path Sentence

These are called Garden path sentence.

A garden path sentence is a grammatically correct sentence that starts in such a way that a reader's most likely interpretation will be incorrect; the reader is lured into a parse that turns out to be a dead end.

THE ETYMOLOGY OF SHORTY IN HIP HOP: An absurdly nerdy look at how hip hop invented the most important slang of our time. By Matthew Daniels. @ http://www.mdaniels.com/shorty/

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