Saturday, January 19, 2008

Words I'm Looking Up (One in an occasional series on words I'm looking up)


There's a word I thought I'd never have the occasion to look up. But I came across this in the L.A. Times this morning:

President Bush sounded a hopeful note Friday when he called for as much as $150
billion in tax rebates to goose the economy back into gear.

I was reminded of watching an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati when I was a kid. I was frustrated because I didn't understand why the audience laughed so hard when Herb said he was going to give Jennifer "her Christmas goose."

So when I encountered the newspaper article, I realized that even my sitcom-based grasp of the word was insufficient. I opened Webster's New World College Dictionary:

(Skipping to the verb definitions): 1. to prod suddenly and playfully in
the backside so as to startle. 2. to feed gasoline to (an engine) in irregular
spurts. 3. to prod, or stir, into action.

Often, I have to force myself to read the news. My attention is all-too-easily lured away by any word or wording I find interesting, any notable punctuation issue, any language issue that I naturally find more interesting than lame attempts to tweak the economy. And that's on a good day. But on days like today, when suddenly I'm swimming in images of the president "goosing" the economy -- well, just don't quiz me on today's headlines.


abigail said...

I am so pleased to have discovered your blog! Especially because one, your book looks fab and two, because reading an article can sometimes take me forever also. In my first english class in college my fellow students couldn't figure out why it took me so long to read seven pages of Karl Marx. Hello? I was trying to educate myself about our beautiful language. Well, that and I didn't want to feel stupid if the professor asked the class what a word meant. And finally the third reason why I am so happy to find your blog: I heart WKRP!! There's something so sublty sexy about a man who knows how to work with imaginary walls (Les Nessman).

June Casagrande said...

I love the idea of speed-reading Karl Marx! I bet Les Nessman wouldn't just blow through "Das Kapital," either.

Thanks for the hi, Abigail!


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