Monthly Archives: February 2012

Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: revisionism.

revisionism. “Revisionism” (= the practice of rethinking traditionally accepted notions about events or ideas in light of later developments and revelations) is sometimes neutral in connotation — e.g.: “The author of this book covers familiar ground in unfamiliar ways. Eva … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: revert.

revert. "Revert" = (1) to return to a former state, condition, or posture; (2) to go back in thought, speech, or action; or (3) (of property) to return to the former owner or to that owner’s heirs. Sense 1 is … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Retronyms.

Retronyms. In the beginning there was the telephone. Each one had the same essential features, including a dial. (For convenience, the word was shortened to the casualism “phone.”) Then came another type: the push-button telephone (often referred to by the … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries.

Miscellaneous Entries. rencontre; rencounter. Very little is certain about these words. Webster’s Collegiate (11th ed.) lists the main entry under “rencontre”; the Concise Oxford Dictionary lists the main entry under “rencounter,” as does Webster’s 2d International. Under “rencontre,” the COD … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: reticent.

reticent. “Reticent” = reserved; unwilling to speak freely; taciturn. E.g.: “He’s silent in the locker room, reticent in team meetings and uncomfortable among reporters.” Randy Covitz, “Chiefs’ Defense Needs Young Starters to Step Up,” Kansas City Star, 30 Aug. 1997, … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: retch.

retch, v.i. This verb, meaning “to vomit or try to vomit,” is amazingly often misspelled “wretch” — e.g.: o “A few weeks ago I found myself stretching out on the couch and wretching [read 'retching'] into a bowl, nursing a … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: restrain; refrain.

restrain; refrain. These words were once almost interchangeable, but have long since been distinguishable. “Restrain” (= [1] to hold [a person or thing] back from an action; or [2] to deprive of liberty) is now almost exclusively a transitive verb. … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: restive.

restive. “Restive” = (1) intractable, stubborn, unmanageable; or (2) restless, nervous, impatient. Although sense 1 is older, sense 2 has become more common. Some critics lament this development, but it seems irreversible — e.g.: o “Many of the movers and … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries.

Miscellaneous Entries. remain. In correspondence, it was once common to include the phrase “I remain” or “we remain” in a complimentary close such as “Yours sincerely” or “Very truly yours.” Today, the phrase “I remain” is not only stilted but … Continue reading

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Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: restaurateur.

restaurateur. So spelled. “Restauranteur,”* with an intrusive “-n-,” is a common error, in writing as well as in pronunciation — e.g.: o “Corporate spending is way down, restauranteurs [read 'restaurateurs'] and caterers say.” Ellen Debenport, “Second-Term Inaugurals Often a Little … Continue reading

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