Corsair

Corsair: (n) a pirate, especially formerly of the Barbary Coast

When they attack our ships, they’re pirates. When we hire them to attack the ships of our enemy, they’re buccaneers, or corsairs.

I just had to giggle when I saw this today.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

There were so many pirates who aided the early American league of states in the pursuit of freedom, that I am not sure we would have been nearly so successful without them.

The pirates were a rowdy, bawdy group, willing to fight anyone as long as they could rebel against the establishment and the ships they were targeting had plenty of bounty.

In our American history books are quite a few pirates who sided with us against the British, and therefore, we considered them to be swashbucklers instead of thieves and murderers.

For history is written by those who survive the wars, and the pirates were very happy to help our young country, although I’m sure they had no sense of our destiny, but instead, were curious about what was being hidden on British ships.


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British

j-r-practix-with-border-2

British: (adj) of or relating to Great Britain or the United Kingdom

A sense of doom hangs in the air whenever people discuss the Israelis and the Palestinians.Dictionary B

Because they have fought for so long–argued, battled and killed each other–we’re totally and completely convinced that any attempts at arbitration are futile.

I guess I would have a tendency to go along with this perspective, until I consider the relationship between the British and the United States.

Let’s look at it as a panorama:

The British were in charge of the Colonies, and the Colonies, in turn, were so loyal to the King that they fought for him in the French and Indian War.

But it was less than two decades later that the British and the Colonists were at each other’s throats over issues of freedom, taxation without representation and independence.

For seven-and-a-half long years, they struggled with each other, hatefully. And even when the Revolutionary War was over, the British Navy continued to conscript American sailors, claiming that they were really English citizens.

This led to another war.

This time the British burned down Washington, D.C., destroying the White House. So great was the hatred between the two nations that they actually fought the last battle of the War of 1812 in New Orleans after the peace treaty had already been signed. (No instant messaging.)

On top of that, the British government considered entering our Civil War–siding with the Confederacy against the Union. They didn’t do it, but it was touch and go.

So how did we go from this ferocious animosity to being allies in World War II, overthrowing Hitler?

Here’s the truth: we found a common enemy that was more necessary to defeat than maintaining our feud.

Is it possible that the Palestinians and the Israelis could find a common enemy to unite them, and in the process give them the chance to fight side-by-side instead of face-to-face?

I don’t know.

But we human beings are much more likely to unite for a fight than to see and agree.

 

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Auto

dictionary with letter AAuto: (n) an automobile.

About two years ago, for fun, I decided to take a series of obsolete words and use them over and over again for a 24-hour period.

The reason for my little ploy was to find out what people would think if they heard words being used that had either been buried in the past or were associated with a pseudo-intellectual form of speak.

It was great fun.

And of course, one of those words was “auto.”

You would be surprised if, for just one day, every time you referred to your car you refrained from using “wheels” or “transportation,” and just told people you were “on your way out to your auto.”

One fellow thought I was British. Mind you, I had no accent–just apparently came across very Queenly.

But the general consensus was that in using words like “auto,” which have long since been buried in our history, I was generally deemed to be very intelligent–but not particularly appealing.

Isn’t it interesting that even though we tout the importance of education, when individuals express the fruits of that experience through their vernacular (the way they talk), we are somewhat put off by them and wonder why they don’t just “say it plain.”

So when I exclaimed to a group of teenagers that I was “off in my auto to motor to the general store to pick up some sundries,” the blank looks were priceless.

Yet they did get out of my way … and make room for my verbal ego.

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Aussie

Aussie (n. and adj): informal term for Australia or Australian.

It is a phenomenon worth studying.dictionary with letter A

Ever since Crocodile Dundee debuted in America in 1986, the folks of our country have been absolutely enamored by Australians.

  • We’ve eaten shrimp with them down at the “barbie.”
  • We frequently go to the Outback Steakhouse.
  • And we nearly had 40 days of mourning over a young man who got stung and killed by a stingray.

What is our fascination with those we dub Aussies?

May I advance some possibilities?

  1. They have almost an American audacity to proclaim their country a continent. (We don’t even do that.)
  2. They kind of talk British without being sprinkled with fairy dust.
  3. They look like they would wear shorts to work everyday.
  4. Knowing that opera is boring, they made their Sydney Opera House interesting looking.
  5. They have kangaroos. Come on.
  6. Their country has a Wild West feel to it instead of being beleaguered by mini-malls and huge billboards.
  7. Every once in a while they produce a good rock and roll band.
  8. And finally, their winter is in July. (That’s gutsy.)

I think the basic thing that promotes the Aussie appeal is that they have a friendliness instead of a nastiness, even though they appear to be extremely independent.

In our country, if you’re going to be a free-thinker, you normally choose to snarl.

In Australia, you say, “G’day.”

 

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Anschluss

dictionary with letter A

Anschluss: (v) the annexation of Austria by Germany

Have you ever wondered what would have happened if somebody had caught little Jack before he became the Ripper, and told the lad never to play with knives?

Or maybe if there had been somebody in the house of little Johnny of the Booth clan, saying that black people aren’t really meant to be slaves?

It would have been nice if someone would have caught Jeffrey Dahmer yelling at a cat and mistreating one before he went on a killing rampage.

There are moments reserved for the brave.

They happen to all of us.

Yes, each and every one of us have “crazies” in our lives.

For instance, several people were responsible for Adolph Hitler–and because they didn’t want to interfere or be judgmental, they decided to let him proceed in his growing insanity.

It would have been wonderful if the British and the Americans would have made a big deal over Hitler annexing this little piece of Austria. Why? Because Hitler wasn’t ready for war at that point.

He thought he was. But what created his war machine was the confidence that grew in his troops as they conquered Europe.

Yes, by the time he got to annexing France, he became nearly unbeatable.

I thought about this a lot when I was a father, raising my children. Sometimes I was tired and it was easier not to make the object lesson, calling out bad behavior. Matter of fact, sometimes it seemed noble to “let one slide.”

But I rarely did.

Because facts are … the little confrontation you have today always eliminates the war which could rage later.

 

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Amigo

dictionary with letter A

Amigo: (n) term used to address or refer to a friend chiefly in Spanish-speaking areas.

Don’t get me started.

I have a pet peeve about people who know three or four words in several different languages and use them whenever they get around somebody they think might be anywhere near that particular national persuasion.

I’m sorry. It bugs me.

For instance, I don’t think you get to use the word “oui” to say yes just because somebody from France is in the room.

Here’s a clue. No, let me go even further. I’m going to call it a rule.

You are not allowed to use a foreign language unless you can string together at least three sentences in a row.

So this will avoid individuals who go to German restaurants, and when asked if they want dessert at the end of consuming their bratwurst, they pat their tummy and say “nein.”

And it also is going to greatly discourage individuals who, in a Hispanic environment, begin to call everybody mi amigo.

It’s not like you’re impressing anyone. Everyone knows that you’re only aware of certain words, and even find it difficult to order by yourself at Taco Bell. Just do yourself a favor–and everyone else, while you’re at it–and remove the pretense of thinking that you become international by mouthing certain words, which more than likely are mispronounced anyway.

This also goes for individuals who start talking Southern when they’re in Alabama, British when they discuss the Beatles and throw in an occasional “thee and thou” at a performance of Shakespeare in the Park.

I thank you for allowing me to vent my frustration on this issue. I’m sure it has saved me thousands of dollars in therapy … and possibly a murder conviction from brutally attacking one of these language transgressors.

 

Accent

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Accent: (n.) a distinctive mode of pronunciation of a language, especially one associated with a particular nation, locality or social class

Anyone who spends any time whatsoever in theater realizes that it is often a bigoted representation of society’s perception of all races and nationalities.

What I mean by that statement is that if you’re playing a part in a production and your director wants you to convey a certain immediate energy to the audience, he will often ask you to consider using an accent to trigger an image or attitude in the mind of the hearer.

Could anything be more prejudiced? Yet it is standard practice–and an admission that we human beings often draw conclusions based on what we hear and therefore perceive.

Let me give you an example:

Let’s say you’re playing the part of a snobby, high-falutin’; upper-class woman. The suggestion may be made to give her a British accent–therefore concluding that all Brits are really pricks.

Are you gonna play a boxer in the movie? Then you probably should have a New Jersey accent–“Joisey.”

Let me run a few more:

  • Mafia? Italian, of course.
  • A slick gigolo lover? French.
  • A bigoted ignoramus? A Southern Dixie accent.
  • How about a surfer? A California Valley-girl accent.
  • What if the part demands you be a spy? I would suggest a Russian accent.
  • A karate champion? Japanese.
  • How about a dictator? Gotta be German.

Since it is so obvious that we equate certain attributes to accents, it might be a good idea to be careful how you round your r’s and punch your syllables.

Because as much as we may discount the value of prejudice, it was here when we arrived–and it will stand over our graves.