December 07, 2011

Words Gone Wonky

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the latest edition of Wondrous Words Wednesday here in Eclectic Land.  Today's words are taken from a biography of General William Tecumseh Sherman, a review of which will be appearing here shortly.  In the meantime, on to the verbiage.

debouche--"to enter into battle"  (What would I do without Wiktionary?)

farrago--is basically a synonym for "hodgepodge".  I had heard and seen this word before, but really had no idea what it meant.

metier--(Imagine an accent aigu over the first 'e' in this word, since I don't know how to put one there in Blogger.)  And this is where things went wonky.  The co-authors of the Sherman biography used this word twice, and the first time, they used it correctly and I learned a new word.  It's pretty much the word for a Platonic concept--your calling in life, what you were born and meant to do.  The second time they used it, however, they obviously did so without editorial supervision, because the word they meant to use in that particular sentence was "mettle".  That's okay, though, because they did eventually use "mettle"--unfortunately, that time, they meant "meddle".  It was a long slog through that book, believe me.


  1. I really like farrago, though it is perhaps less fun to say than hodgepodge. My husband loves Sherman, so I'll be interested to see your review of the bio you read.

  2. I think I'll stick with hodgepodge - farrago won't roll off of my tongue. Thanks for playing along!

  3. Metier I've certainly come across before. I was thinking that I wouldn't have much need for deboucher, but it is kind of how I think of going in to work every day, maybe I can take it on. I can't say that I've ever read a biography of a General, I think you're a bit brave to try.


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