Interesting words I encountered while wandering through the blogosphere.
synecdoche (si-NEK-duh-kee). n. -- a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole or the whole for a part, the special for the general or the general for the special. "Nice set of wheels" to mean "nice car" is an example of synecdoche, as is "you ain't no Einstein" to impugn someone's intelligence.
samizdat (SAH-miz-daht), n. A Russian word describing a publishing system within the Soviet Union, by which forbidden or unpublishable literature was reproduced and circulated privately; by extension, any system of clandestine printing and distribution of banned or dissident literature.
OK, I cheated a little. I did not encounter those words in the blogosphere. I saw them in a book I just dowloaded to my Kindle, "Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen" by longtime New Yorker copy editor Mary Norris. Good read. She ladles out some good grammar rules with humor and kindness -- she's not one of those anal reteentive scolds who hunts down danling participles and kills them. It is, if I may use the word, charming.
samizdat is an interesting word to me because I've experienced it. I wrote an editorial once, never mind the subject, and the publisher, never mind the name, decided that it should be published in, never mind the newspaper. Well, I was just a tad put off, so all day long I took a printout of the offending editorial out with me on smoke break and waved it around furiously. "You want to to read this editorial?" I snarled at the startled co-workers unfortunate enough to wander by. "Well, this is the only place you can read it!"
That, friends, was samizdat.