Word of the Week: Pied-À-Terre


pied-à-terre |ˌpjeɪdɑːˈtɛː| (n)
a small flat, house, or room kept for occasional use

early 19th century: French, literally ‘foot to earth’



My Most Recent Encounter With This Word

The Wall Street Journal
“A Pied-À-Terre Redesigned by a Master of Mansions”
September 22, 2016

Word of the Week: Captious


captious |ˈkapʃəs|
tending to find fault or raise petty objections: a captious teacher

late Middle English (also in the sense ‘intended to deceive someone’): from Old French captieux or Latin captiosus, meaning ‘seizing,’ (or figuratively) ‘deceiving



Where I First Came Across This Word Continue reading

Word of the Week: Bokeh

FINALLY, a short respite from French words!

Here’s a Japanese one: bokeh, pronounce boh-KAY.

bokeh (n)
the visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, especially as rendered by a particular lens

Interestingly, the word is derived from the verb, bokeru, which has various meanings: to go senile, to be out of it, and, within the photographic context, to blur.

Here’s an example of bokeh—maple leaves in all its beauty:


“Blue is my color” by Edgar Barany

I invite you to write to me at  viv@mywritinghome.com if you have any word ideas you’d like to share.

Word of the Week: Trompe L’oeil

IN a grand artistic trick of the eye, the iconic 70-foot-high glass monument of I.M. Pei in Paris has disappeared since the beginning of June. What you see instead are black-and-white photos of the surrounding 16th-century buildings, each of them meticulously covering the famed glass pyramid that has been standing in the main courtyard of the Louvre Palace since 1989.


CAPTION FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: For his latest exhibition, French street artist JR is covering the Louvre Pyramid with photos of the 16th-century palace. PHOTO: JOEL SAGET/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Continue reading

Word of the Week: Cupidity

NOTHING is more irksome than hearing a teacher say, during one of those end-of-term post-examination parent-teacher meeting, that your kid is weak in his inference skills and he needs to work on it more.

Work on it more? How, pray tell? Continue reading