John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

Architecture for the blog of it: Oswald Mathias Ungers

Architecture for the blog of it: Oswald Mathias Ungers: Oswald Mathias Ungers, German architect, planner, and teacher known for the pure geometries of his buildings and for his theoretical writin...

Architecture for the blog of it: Rogelio Salmona

Architecture for the blog of it: Rogelio Salmona: Rogelio Salmona was a Colombian architect as well as an urbanist whose exposed brick structures celebrated his hometown of Bogota and won i...

Word stuff: skosh

A small amount; a little bit.

From Japanese sukoshi (a little). Earliest documented use: 1955. 

Word stuff: agonistic

agonistic \ag-uh-NISS-tik\
argumentative,  striving for effect : strained, of, relating to, or being aggressive or defensive social interaction (as fighting, fleeing, or submitting) between individuals usually of the same species

"Agonistic" has its roots in ancient Greece—specifically in the agonistic (to use the oldest sense of the word) athletic contests called "agons" featured at public festivals. From physical conflict to verbal jousting, "agonistic" came to be used as a synonym for "argumentative" and later to mean "striving for effect" or "strained." 

Word stuff: rprolepsis


 The use of a descriptive word in anticipation of the result. Example: The word hot in hot water heater.

From Greek prolepsis, from prolambanein (to anticipate), from pro- (before) + lambanein (to take). 

Word stuff:duress

duress \dur-RESS\
forcible restraint or restriction,  compulsion by threat; specifically : unlawful constraint

"Duress" is a word of hardy stock. It has been a part of the English language since the 14th century, and has a number of long-lived relatives. "Duress" itself came into Middle English through the Anglo-French "duresce" (meaning "hardness" or "severity"), which stems from Latin "durus," meaning "hard." Some obvious relatives of this robust root are "durable," "endure" and "obdurate" (meaning "unyielding" or "hardened in feelings"). Some others are "dour" (meaning "harsh," "unyielding," or "gloomy") and "during."

Word stuff: Rowel

rowel \ROWL\

to goad with or as if with a pointed disk at the end of a spur,  vex, trouble

   The noun "rowel" names the circular, point-covered disk on the end of a spur that is used to urge powerful steeds to maximum speeds. But cowboys didn't invent rowels; knights in shining armor were sporting them even before the 12th century. English speakers of yore picked up the noun "rowel" from the Anglo-French "roele," meaning "small wheel." By the end of the 1500s, "rowel" was also being used as a verb for any process of prodding or goading that was as irritating as being poked in the side with a rowel.

William Saffires Rules for Writers

Remember to never split an infinitive.
The passive voice should never be used.
Do not put statements in the negative form.
Verbs has got to agree with their subjects.
Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal
of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
A writer must not shift your point of view.
And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!
Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences,
as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.

 Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
 If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nounsin their writing.
Always pick on the correct idiom.
The adverb always follows the verb.
Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives.
Never use a preposition to end a sentence with.
Avoid annoying alliteration.
Don’t verb nouns.
Don’t use no double negatives.
Make each pronoun agree with their antecedent.
When dangling, watch your participles.
Don’t use commas, which aren’t necessary.
Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
About those sentence fragments.
Try to not ever split infinitives.
Its important to use apostrophe’s correctly.
Always read what you have written to see if you’ve any words out.
Correct spelling is esential.
Proofread you writing.
Between you and I, case is important.
Verbs has to agree with their antecedents.

Word stuff: Apheresis

 The loss of one or more sounds or letters from the beginning of a word. For example, the change in pronunciation of knife from (k-nyf) to (nyf) or the formation of till from until.

From Latin aphaeresis, from Greek aphairesis (taking away), from aphairein (to take away), from apo- (away) + hairein (to take). 

Word stuff: Nocuous

nocuous \NAH-kyuh-wus\
Meaning harmful

"nocuous" and "innocuous" have immediate Latin predecessors: "nocuus" and "innocuus." (The latter combines "nocuus" with the negative prefix "in-.") Both words can also be traced back to the Latin verb "nocēre," meaning "to harm." Other "nocēre" descendants in English include "innocent" and "nocent" (which also means "harmful"). "Nuisance" (which originally meant, and still can mean, "a harm or injury") is a more distant relative. 


Word stuff: syncope


 The shortening of a word by omission of sounds or letters from its middle. For example, did not to didn't or Worcester to Wooster. . Fainting caused by insufficient blood flow to the brain.

From Latin syncope, from Greek synkope (contraction, cutting off), from syn- (together) + koptein (to cut). 

Word stuff: Jape

To say or do something jokingly or mockingly

" Geoffrey Chaucer used the word to mean both "to trick" and "to jeer." It was also used, however, with the meanings "to seduce (someone)" or "to have sexual intercourse." This ambiguity forced writers to think twice about using "jape" in fear of misinterpretation. Ultimately, the word was avoided by respectable writers, and by the end of the 16th century it had fallen into disuse. But this four-letter word was not completely forgotten. It got its second chance when 19th-century writers began using its "jeer" meaning again—leaving its carnal meaning in oblivion.

Henry Miller 11 Commandments

Word stuff: aspirate

 To pronounce a sound with an exhalation of breath. To pronounce the h sound at the beginning of a word as (hwich) for which. To inhale something (such as a fluid) into the lungs, as after throwing up.  To draw a fluid from a body cavity by suction.

From Latin aspirare (to breathe, blow) 

Word Stuff: proximate

immediately preceding or following (as in a chain of events, causes, or effects),  very near : close ,soon forthcoming : imminent

"Proximate" derives from Latin "proximatus," itself the past participle of the verb "proximare," meaning "to approach." The noun "approximation" and both the noun and verb "approximate" derive from "proximare" (via the Late Latin verb "approximare"). "Proximare," in turn, comes from "proximus" ("nearest, next") and can be traced back to the adjective "prope," meaning "near." "Prope" is also an ancestor of the English verb "approach," as well as "proximity," "propinquity," and "reproach."

Word Stuff: Genial

"Genial" derives from the Latin adjective "genialis," meaning "connected with marriage." When "genial" was first adopted into English in the mid-16th century, it meant "of or relating to marriage," a sense that is now obsolete. "Genialis" was formed in Latin by combining the "-alis" suffix (meaning "of, relating to, or characterized by") with "genius," meaning "a person's disposition or inclination." Latin "genius" is the ancestor of the English word "genius," meaning "extraordinary intellectual power"—so "genial" eventually developed a sense (possibly influenced by the German word "genial") of "marked by very high intelligence."

Word Stuff: Agglutinate

 (verb: uh-GLOOT-n-ayt, adjective: uh-GLOOT-n-it, -ayt) 
 To form words by combining words or word elements.  To join or become joined as if by glue.  To clump or cause to clump, as red blood cells.
From Latin gluten (glue).

Word Stuff: lair

In the 14th century, to have flair" (or "flayre" as it was then commonly spelled), meant to have "an odor." The word derived from the Old French verb "flairer" ("to give off an odor"), which came in turn from Late Latin "flagrare," itself an alteration of "fragrare." (The English words "fragrant" and "fragrance" also derive from "fragrare.") The "odor" sense of "flair" fell out of use, but in the 19th century English speakers once again borrowed "flair" from the French—this time (influenced by the Modern French use of the word for the sense of smell) to indicate a discriminating sense or instinctive discernment.

Word stuff :o take a drubbing

Drub \DRUB\
to beat severely,  to berate critically,  to defeat decisively

When "drub" was first used in English, it referred to a method of punishment that involved beating the soles of a culprit's feet with a stick or cudgel. The term was apparently brought to England in the 17th century by travelers who reported observing the punitive practice in Asia. Etymologists are uncertain of the ultimate origin of "drub," but some have speculated that it may have evolved from the Arabic word "ḍaraba," meaning "to beat."

Take what you need