Monthly Archives: March 2013

Sharrow — is that a word?

sharrow in Loveland

Sharrow was a word included in the local newspaper I was reading this morning.  It seems Loveland, CO is going to put sharrow markings on some streets.

Unless your are a bicyclist, you may not know what a sharrow is.

A sharrow or shared-lane marking is painted on streets. It is positioned near he center of a travel lane to indicate that a bicyclist may use the full lane.

The name sharrow was coined by Oliver Gajda, of the City and County of San Francisco Bicycle Program, and is a portmanteau of share and arrow. (See my June, 2010 blog post with examples of portmanteaus)

According to the US Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, shared-lane markings are used to:

  • Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking in order to reduce the chance of a bicyclist’s impacting the open door of a parked vehicle;
  • Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in lanes that are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to travel side by side within the same traffic lane;
  • Alert motorists of the lateral location bicyclists are likely to occupy within the traveled way;
  • Encourage safe passing of bicyclists by motorists; and
  • Reduce the incidence of wrong-way bicycling.

Suspended coffee?

Suspended coffee — Two words not usually put together in a sentence.  Until now.  It seems that caffee sospeso is a new and rapidly growing trend.

What the heck is suspended coffee?

suspended coffee

It appears to be when you go to a coffee shop, order your own coffee and also pay for one or more suspended ones.  These extra coffees are held until someone comes in who cannot afford one.

This upcoming coffee trend has been verified by  (My go-to place when I want to know if something is real or not.)    Here is the link to on suspended coffee.  The snopes article says the tradition may have started in Italy–Naples, Italy to be exact.

Has anyone heard of this in their area?   Would you “suspend” a coffee when you by your morning latte?

Locavesting — what is that?


Locavesting was a new term to me a couple of weeks ago.   It seems to be a blend of the words local (as in your community) and investing.

A gentleman who is trying to start a local, family owned natural food grocery store  (The Crunchy Grocer) brought it to my attention.  My blog post about The Crunchy Grocer gives the details.

He is trying to get funding to finance a new business that would have natural and organic foods.  He is using private funds and bank funds.  Now he is asking people in the community to invest too.

Further investigations told me that there is even a book and a blog site on locavesting.   It is written by Amy Cortese, and is called

“Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit From It.”

The book is available at the online Amazon and Barnes and Noble sites.

Amy Cortese’s locavesting website tells more than I can ever do here.

NOTE:  I was just told that locavesting is also a play on the word ‘locavore’ – a person who eats a locally-sourced diet (and Oxford American Dictionary’s 2007 word of the year!)  Thanks to the book’s author Amy Cortese for sharing this.



Photobombing — Don’t call the bomb squad

photobombPhotobombing. I know you have seen it and I bet some of you have done it.
To photobomb is hop into a picture right before it is taken.  This is usually done as a prank, and takes the focus (no pun intended) away from the main subject.

Photobombing (or is it videobombing) is also seen when a television newscaster is on location. Some one jumps, yells, makes faces, etc. as he is trying to do a serious report.

Professional athletes do this to teammates during interviews quite frequently.

Do you have any funny stories of when you photobombed or were photobombed?

Suicidality — not a typo


In my last post about the word hegemony, I was telling how I learned this word from a submission by a fellow writer in a writers’ critique group.  Well, it happen in my other group recently too.
One of my fellow writers has extensive military background working in the area of suicide prevention.  In a paper he is writing as a magazine article on the topic he used the word suicidality.  I started to mark the word as a typo.  Knowing this writer is much more educated and smarter than me, I looked it up.

The definition of suicidality is — the likelihood of an individual completing suicide.

Further research shows that the word was coined by the Food and Drug Administration in a public release on October 15, 2004.  The FDA was directing manufacturers of all antidepressant drugs to revise the labeling for their products to include a boxed warning and expanded warning statements that alert health care providers to an increased risk of suicidality.

Now you know.

Hegemony — had to look this one up


dictionary hegemony

Hegemony is a word I have never heard before. This was until last week. It appeared in an article submitted by one of the people in my writers’ critique group. (I am in two such groups)

When reading an article about one of the members who recently made a trip to Cuba, she used the word hegemony in her essay.

This caused me to scramble for the dictionary. Or at least my laptop since I tend to look up definitions online instead of in my dusty dictionary that still holds a place on a bookshelf.

The word means leadership or predominance. It can also mean influence or authority over others.  This can be social, cultural, ideological or economic influence exerted by a dominant group.

Hegemony can especially mean aggression or expansionism by a larger nation in an effort to achieve world domination.

Grawlix and other bad words


Grawlix may not be a word you are familiar with but you have seen grawlixes (the plural of grawlix) before.  Thanks to fellow writer, Jeff White, I am now knowledgeable about this.

The basic definition of grawlix is a sequence of typographical symbols used to represent a non-specific swear word, profane word or phrase.   It usually appears something like this:  #@$%*!

Mort Walker, an American cartoonist (the creator of “Beetle Bailey” an “Hi and Lois” comics) first used the term.

The term first appeared in his 1964 article called Let’s get down to grawlixes.

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