Monthly Archives: April 2013

Bollards are no bull

Bollard is a word that came up at a meeting I attended recently.  A small utility building needed protection so it was not struck by cars.  The people in charge said it would  have bollards around it.

So, what is a bollard?


Originally, it was a short, thick post on the deck of a ship or on a wharf.  Ropes from the shop were tied to it.  These posts were normally made of iron or steel.

The ones I will be seeing around the building will be landlocked.  No ships or wharves involved. And, no ropes on them.    Just something very solid so if a car is out of control or skids on ice, it will stop before it makes contact with the building.



Ghostwriting–what is it?

At a recent writers’ critique group, the subject of ghostwriting came up. One of the members has been hired to write a book for someone else.  In her online bio she mentioned that she is ghostwriting and named the person who has hired her.


I questioned this, saying that I thought a ghostwriter was anonymous.

Here is what an online search of the term ghostwriter reveals.

A ghostwriter is a writer who writes books, articles, stories, reports, speeches or other texts that are officially credited to another person.  At one point, I even did some ghostblogging for a colleague.)  This other person is assumed to be the author of the work.

The degree of involvement the ghostwriter has may vary.  It can range from editing and clean up a rough draft to doing most of the writing based on an outline provided by the credited author. At times, ghostwriters do a substantial amount of research,

The ghostwriter is paid a sum of money to write the material needed and hand it over to the payee. The person who has paid for the work will then assign his name or someone else’s name to claim the work as his own.

The ghostwriter is sometimes, but rarely, acknowledged by the author or publisher for his or her writing services.

That’s odd


Oddment is a word I don’t think I have ever seen before last week.  It was used in an essay submitted by a writer in my two writers’ critique groups.

Oddments are odds and ends.  Another definition of oddment is some that is an and ends.

Synonyms for oddment include remnant, bits and pieces, hodgepodge, leftovers, remains or refuse and the ever popular this and that.

Altercation — nothing to fight about

Altercations?  Yes, I used to think this mean a fight.  I bet you did too.  altercation

Actually, the definition of altercation is a verbal fight between people. (note the verbal aspect)  Most think it means a fight/fist fight.

Altercation means a noisy, heated angry dispute.

Synonyms are quarrel, squabble and dispute, bickering, beef and tiff.

So next time you hear about an altercation taking place, don’t assume it is a physical fight.

Contronyms — Say what you mean


Contronyms?   Never heard the word before today.  My Loveland realtor and a friend, Marc Kray, shared this website with me.

It is titled 14 words that are their opposite.   Thanks to Marc and the mentalfloss website.

Do you know others???

Volunteered or voluntold?


Volunteering is a good thing.  I think we can all agree on that.  I volunteer for three organizations locally, and enjoy it very much.

Most of us have been in the situation where we did not volunteer at one time or another.  Someone, usually a boss or spouse, volunteers for us.

I recently found out that if you are “volunteered” it is called voluntold.  As in your boss or spouse voluntold you for a task.   This usually seems to be for a job that is unpleasant. Sometimes this is disguised as a suggestion. Yeah, right.

This made up word is a combination of the words volunteer and told.

I bet  you have been voluntold a time or two.