In this thread Icy Mountain tells about his son's impressive performance in a spelling bee, and running up against the obscure word "disafforest," which I had never encountered the word, but a little investigation led to my learning that in one sense it simply means "to clear a forest of trees," but in its original sense it has a legal connotation, that being the removal of an official designation of a protected forest. I mention this because A) I'm an insufferable word geek, and B) it affords an opportunity to introduce likeminded Covers to an excellent resource on the Web.
A British writer, lexicographer and etymologist named Michael Quinion operates a Website called World Wide Words in which all sorts of etymological gems may be found. Quinion describes the site as "...about international English from a British viewpoint." There is a very large searchable database of words both common and obscure, as well as articles, book reviews and humor. If you find the study of written and spoken English interesting, the site can keep you occupied for hours and serve as an excellent reference resource. Quinion also publishes a weekly e-mail newsletter that makes for great reading and edification. You can subscribe on the site, and I've attached the most recent edition as an example.
I had a quick look and had to stop before my coworkers thought me mad for laughing out loud. Particularly a sentence from a review of the book "Roger's Profanisaurus Rex" on the website that included a definition for "Chumley warning". It took me a couple of seconds to decipher the Queen's English for "fussy nosher" but then I let loose with hysterics.
WARNING: If you are the type of First Amendment ignoramus that is easily offended by WORDS, do not go to World Wide Words. It is a site for the examination, explanation and study of WORDS, no holds barred.
If you are a First Amendment ignoramus:
The United States Bill of Rights. said:
The Ten Original Amendments to the Constitution of the United States
Passed by Congress September 25, 1789
Ratified December 15, 1791
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.