New Word Wednesday: internecine

Happy Wednesday! Hope everyone’s staying warm. Winter has officially arrived in my part of the world, and with it endless layers of clothing and (equally endless) complaining that, once again, the sun has gone away. Let’s stay warm learning new words!



internecine adjective

  • destructive to both sides in a conflict

  • relating to conflict within a group

Example: “But if you believe that the real fight for power today is an internecine one taking place within the Labour Party rather than between political parties, it seems more than feasible.”

Origin: mid 17th century (in the sense “deadly, characterized by great slaughter”), from Latin internecinus, based on inter- ‘among’ + necare ‘to kill’.


Nuclear warfare is the first internecine act that comes to mind to me: you can’t get much more destructive than mutually assured destruction…

Let’s hope no one finds any other examples for this word, eh?







New Word Wednesday: mordant

Happy Wednesday! Here’s your new word for the week:

mordant adjective

  • (especially of humor) having or showing a sharp or critical quality; biting

Example: “He has a mordant sense of humor”


mordant noun

  • a substance, typically an inorganic oxide, that combines with a dye or stain and thereby fixes it in a material

  • an adhesive compound for fixing gold leaf

  • a corrosive liquid used to etch the lines on a printing plate

Wool is usually pretreated with a metal compound called a mordant, to get the color to stick well on the fiber. Common mordants are compounds of aluminum, iron, copper, tin, and chromium.


mordant verb

  • impregnate (or treat) a fabric with a mordant


Origin: late 15th century, from French mordre “to bite,” from Latin mordere


Well there you have it: humor, with an extra serving of fiber arts! Enjoy your new word (really, it’s three words in one!), and if you have any suggestions feel free to send them my way.





New Word Wednesday: Katzensprung

Happy Wednesday! Here’s your new word for the week:


Katzensprung noun

  • a stone’s throw; literally, a “cat’s jump”

Example: “Es ist nur einen Katzensprung entfernt,” “It is only a stone’s throw from here”


Literal idioms are my favorite. Ignoring the fact that sometimes cats can jump an absurd distance (not to mention that it’s possible to throw a stone quite a long way!), both the English and German versions of this idiom make sense when translated literally. The interesting part comes from seeing how different cultures interpret the same idea into their own words.

Prepare to see more idioms in the future! I may have found a couple lists… 😉