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A is for alligator.

Etymology – word of the day.
A is for alligator.  (The etymology of the word ‘alligator’)


1560s, lagarto, modern form attested from 1620s, a corruption of Sp. el lagarto (de Indias) “the lizard (of the Indies),” from L. lacertus (see lizard). Alligarter was an early variant. The slang meaning “non-playing devotee of swing music” is attested from 1936; the phrase see you later, alligator is from a 1957 song title.
From the Online Etymology Dictionary
Or as they say today L8tr Allig8tr.
Informative links:
Crocodiles – http://www.thebigzoo.com/Animals/American_Alligator.asp
Mississippi alligator –  http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/cnhc/csp_amis.htm

Neophyte. Plant yourself in a new area of life.


“new convert,” c.1550, from L.L. neophytus, from Gk. neophytos, lit. “newly planted,” from neos “new” + -phytos “planted,” verbal adj. of phyein “cause to grow, beget, plant.” Church sense is from I Tim. iii.6. Rare before 19c. General sense of “one who is new to any subject” is first recorded 1599.

From the Online Etymology Dictionary

I am a blogging neophyte, for sure.   Newly planted.  Hoping to grow strong roots.  Go to Uphillwriting.org to see more examples of usage.

I didn’t know that: Avocado, while a Spanish word, is also from Nahuatl (Aztec)

A friend read the Jalepeno blurb from yesterday and told me to go look up “avocado.”
The following is from the Online Etymology Dictionary.
I make no comment whatsoever.  😐
avocado Look up avocado at Dictionary.com
1763, from Sp. avocado, altered (by folk etymology influence of earlier Sp. avocado “lawyer,” from same L. source as advocate) from earlier aguacate, from Nahuatl ahuakatl “testicle.” So called for its shape. As a color, first attested 1947.

I didn’t know that: Jalapeño comes from an Aztec word.

jalapeño from Mex.Sp. Jalapa, place in Mexico, from Aztec Xalapan, lit. “sand by the water,” from xalli “sand” + atl “water” + -pan “place.”

From the Online Etymology Dictionary

I didn’t know this word was from the Aztec. I always just presumed it was all Spanish, but the word seems to be a mix of the two.

According to WikipediaJalapeño is of Nahuatl and Spanish origin. The Spanish suffix -eño signifies that the noun originates in the place modified by the suffix, similar to the English -(i)an. The jalapeño is named after the Mexican town of Xalapa (also spelled Jalapa). Xalapa is itself of Nahuatl derivation, formed from roots xal-li “sand” and a-pan “water place.”

Jalapeños are a pod type of Capsicum. The growing period is 70–80 days. When mature, the plant stands two and a half to three feet tall. Typically a plant produces twenty-five to thirty-five pods. During a growing period, a plant will be picked multiple times. As the growing season ends, jalapeños start to turn red. Once picked, individual peppers ripen to red of their own accord. The peppers can be eaten green or red.
Jalapeños have 2,500 – 8,000 Scoville heat units. Compared to other chilis, the jalapeño has a heat level that varies from mild to hot depending on cultivation and preparation. The heat, caused by capsaicin and related compounds, is concentrated in the veins (placenta) surrounding the seeds, which are called picante. Handling fresh jalapeños may cause skin irritation. Some handlers wear latex or vinyl gloves while cutting, skinning, or seeding jalapeños. When preparing jalapeños, hands should not come in contact with the eyes as this leads to burning and redness.
•    A chipotle is a smoked, ripe jalapeño.
•    Jalapeño jelly can be prepared using jelling methods.
•    Jalapeño peppers are often muddled and served in mixed drinks.
•    Texas Toothpicks are jalapeños and onions shaved into straws, lightly breaded, and deep fried.
•    Jalapeño Poppers, also called Armadillo eggs, are an appetizer; jalapeños are stuffed with cheese, usually cheddar or cream cheese, breaded and deep fried.
Sweet Potato with Jalapeño Butter
From AARP recipe guide http://www.aarpmagazine.org/food/recipeguide
under Vegetables
By Monica Bhide
(Serves 2)

Sweet potatoes, members of the morning glory family, have been in the United States since before Columbus “sailed the ocean blue.” Often called the world’s healthiest vegetable, they are nutritional powerhouses, with high concentrations of beta carotene and vitamins E and C. The butter log can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.

* For the Jalapeno Butter Log
* 1 stick (1/4 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
* 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
* 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped chives
* For the Sweet Potatoes
* 2 large sweet potatoes

This recipe makes more butter than you need to top the potatoes. Store the remaining butter in the fridge for up to two weeks.

For the Butter
1. Cream the butter and combine with the remaining ingredients.
2. Place the blended butter onto the center of a resealable plastic bag.
3. Using your hands, push the butter to the end of the bag and shape into a log about one inch in diameter. Close the bag and refrigerate for at least two hours.

For the Sweet Potatoes
1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. Line an ovenproof tray with foil.
3. Scrub the sweet potatoes and slice in half lengthwise.
4. Bake on foil-lined tray until tender (about 30-45 minutes).
5. Remove from the oven, top each potato half with a slice of jalapeño butter, and serve immediately.

Some more Jalapeño recipe sites:



Interesting words that start with the letter “K”.

Interesting words that start with the letter “K”.

from The Online Etymology Dictionary

kaffeeklatsch What a word. I like the sound of this whatever it means

“gossip over cups of coffee,” 1888, from Ger., from kaffee “coffee” + klatsch “gossip” (see klatsch).

kafuffle Sounds like a problem Winnie the Pooh would have but see it as a variant of kerfuffle.

kakistocracy This is not a line of kings  who wear khakis.

1829, “government by the worst element of a society,” coined on analogy of aristocracy from Gk. kakistos “worst,” superlative of kakos “bad” (which is perhaps related to the general IE word for “defecate”) + -cracy.

karoo Interesting sounding word.  Like a coyote howl or similar sound.

“barren table land in S. Africa,” 1789, said to be from a Hottentot word meaning “dry.”


name of a high, barren limestone region around Trieste; used by geologists from 1894 to refer to similar landforms. The word is the Ger. form of Slovenian kras.

katzenjammer Love this word too. Kaffeeklatsch with the katzenjammers.  Hmmmm.

1849, “a hangover,” Amer.Eng. colloquial, from Ger. katzen, comb. form of katze “cat” + jammer “distress, wailing.” Hence, “any unpleasant reaction” (1897). Katzenjammer Kids “naughty children” is from title of comic strip first drawn by Rudolph Dirks in 1897 for the “New York Journal.”

stan “country, land” (see -stan).

kazoo So was this originally something you blow or blow someone away with?

1884, Amer.Eng., probably altered from earlier bazoo “trumpet” (1877); probably ultimately onomatopoeic (cf. bazooka). In England, formerly called a Timmy Talker, in France, a mirliton.

Kazoos, the great musical wonder, … anyone can play it; imitates fowls, animals, bagpipes, etc. [1895 Montgomery Ward catalogue, p.245]

keister Just read the etymology. ‘Nuf said.

“buttocks,” 1931, perhaps transferred from underworld meaning “safe, strongbox” (1914), earlier “a burglar’s toolkit that can be locked” (1881); probably from British dialect kist (c.1300, northern form of chest, from O.N. kista) or its Ger. cognate Kiste “chest, box.” The connection may be via pickpocket slang sense of “rear trouser pocket” (1930s).

kerfuffle See kafuffle above,  Not from Winnie the Pooh then.

“row, disturbance, c.1930, first in Canadian English, ultimately from Scot. curfuffle.

kibble If the kibble was the bucket the the bits were the waste? My dog never liked kibble & bits anyway.

the noun use for ground-up meat used as dog food, etc., seems to derive from the verb meaning “to bruise or grind coarsely,” attested from 1790, first in milling, but of unknown origin. The same or an identical word was used in the coal trade in the late 19c. and in mining from the 1670s for “bucket used to haul up ore or waste.”

kicksie-wicksie Just read on  :-]

a fanciful word for “wife” in Shakespeare (“All’s Well,” II iii.297), 1601, apparently a perversion of kickshaw, late 16c. for “a fancy dish in cookery” (especially a non-native one), from pronunciation of Fr. quelque chose “something.”

kirschwasser I don’t like liquor, but this does sound good.

“liquor distilled from fermented cherry juice,” 1819, from Ger., lit. “cherry-water;” first element from M.H.G. kirse, from O.H.G. kirsa, from V.L. *ceresia, from L.L. cerasium “cherry” (see cherry).

kirtle Rhymes with girdle but not the one we commonly think of.

“a man’s tunic; a woman’s skirt,” O.E. cyrtel, related to O.N. kyrtill “tunic,” probably both from L. curtus “short” (see curt) + dim. suffix -el.

kismet I thought this had something to do with true love and all that.  Evidently not.

1834, from Turk. qismet, from Arabic qismah, qismat “portion, lot, fate,” from root of qasama “he divided.”

kith Kith and kin. You’ve hear of this one.

O.E. cyðð “native country, home,” from cuð “known,” pp. of cunnan “to know” (see can (v.)). The alliterative phrase kith and kin (late 14c.) originally meant “country and kinsmen.”

kitsch Not short for kitchen. At least not a clean one.

1926, from Ger., lit. “gaudy, trash,” from dial. kitschen “to smear.”

kiwi A bird or a berry.

“type of flightless bird,” 1835, from Maori kiwi, of imitative origin. As slang for “a New Zealander,” it is attested from 1918. The kiwi fruit (Actinia chinesis), was originally imported to the U.S. from China (c.1966) and is known in New Zealand as Chinese gooseberry (1925).

klaxon Sounds like something from a Sci/fi movie. The Klaxtons arrived from the planet Xenon.

“loud warning horn,” 1908, originally on cars, said to have been named for the company that sold them (The Klaxon Company; distributor for Lovell-McConnell Mfg. Co., Newark, N.J.), but probably the company was named for the horn, which bore a word probably based on Gk. klazein “to roar,” cognate with L. clangere “to resound.”

kleptocracy Kleptomaniacs rule here, I guess.

“rule by a class of thieves,” 1819, originally in reference to Spain; see kleptomania + -cracy.

klezmer If this means poor musician, I guess I am one. Or used to be.

late 19c. (plural klezmorim); originally, “an itinerant East European Jewish professional musician,” from Heb. kley zemer, lit. “vessels of song,” thus “musical instruments.”

klutz Me too, unfortunately

1965 (implied in klutzy), Amer.Eng., from Yiddish klots “clumsy person, blockhead,” lit. “block, lump,” from M.H.G. klotz “lump, ball.”


1965, from klutz + -y (2).


knish I’m hungry now.

1930, from Yiddish, from Rus. knysh, a kind of cake.

kolkhoz I thought I knew womething about the history of communes but I never heard of this.

U.S.S.R. collective farm, 1921, from Rus., contraction of kollektivnoe khozyaistvo “collective farm.”

kowtow This word deserves to be on the interesting etymology list.

1804 (n.), from Chinese k’o-t’ou custom of touching the ground with the forehead to show respect or submission, lit.

kraal Another word that belong in a sci/fi or Conan movie.

“village, pen, enclosure,” 1731, from colonial Du. kraal, from Port. curral (see corral).

Krakow I didn’t know this was named for someone named Krak.

city in southern Poland, said to have been named for a supposed founder, Krak.

krummhorn Kind of an unfortunate name for a nice instrument.

“curved wind instrument,” 1864, from Ger., lit. “crooked horn,” from krumm “curved, crooked.”

kudzu Tlk about the weed that took over the world.

1893, from Japanese kuzu. Perennial climbing plant native to Japan and China, introduced in U.S. southeast as forage (1920s) and to stop soil erosion (1930s) and quickly got out of hand.

kvass Sorry, this does not sound good to me, but tastes differ.

Russian fermented drink made from rye or barley, 1550s, from Rus. kvas “leaven,” from O.C.S. kvasu “yeast,” cognate with L. caseus “cheese.”

kvetch Me kvetch?  Never!

“to complain, whine,” 1965, from Yiddish kvetshn, lit. “squeeze, press,” from Ger. quetsche “crusher, presser.”

Go farther to get further. Or is is the other way around?

I was working on a story and came to a screeching halt, confused about whether I should use “further” or “farther”. I went out on the Internet to research. (Links I used are listed at the end.) These words are quite often confused. I am never completely sure. (Neither is anyone else from what I am reading).

Let’s take a look at the meanings for these two words.

FARTHER refers to physical advancement in length or distance— the comparative form of the word “far” when it denotes distance – an actual physical distance.

FURTHER denotes advancement to greater extent or degree, as in time—additional or additionally. It is the comparative form of the word “far” when meaning “much.”

So, would you say:

(1)  Farther down the road or further?

(2)  Do you read further in the book or farther?

(3)  Further your education?


  1. It is farther down the road. (For distance physically traveled.)
  2. You read further in the book. (To a greater degree than where you are now.)
  3. You further your education. (To a greater degree than what you have now.)

Take the following test  (Answer Key at bottom of article.)

  1. How much __________ do you plan to drive tonight?
  2. I’m at the end of my rope with this dog chewing up the carpet. I can’t go any _________.
  3. Do you have any _______________ plans for adding on to the building?
  4. That’s a lot _____________ than I want to carry this machine and tripod!
  5. The ________ that I travel down this road, the ________ behind schedule I get.
  6. How much ___________ do you intend to take this legal matter?
  7. I want to ___________ my career by taking some management courses.
  8. It’s not that much ____________ to the gas station.
  9. How much ____________ do I have to read in this text?
  10. How much __________ do I have to run, Coach?

One quick and dirty tip cited on the links is to “use “farther” for physical distance and “further” for figurative, distance. “Farther” has the word “far” in it, and “far” relates to physical distance.”

Steve Osborne on Writing Rules at The Writers Bag (see link below) says, “The difference between “farther” and “further” is just one little vowel. “ No big deal,” you may be thinking. (Really? Tell that to words like “shut,” “hull” and “batch.”).”

Oops! A vowel can make a very big difference.

He also states, “The world is filled with English teachers who spend their spare moments scouring printed materials for mistakes. When they find slip-ups, they perform ritualistic curses against the writers who are responsible.”

I think he may be a little harsh there, I have known some very nice English teachers. But the point is if you can master the difference, you won’t ever have to find out.

If you can’t decide which one to use, use “further” because “farther” has some restrictions.

In ambiguous cases, resources say it doesn’t matter which word you choose. The Oxford English Dictionary, Fowler’s Modern English Usage(British usage), and a number of other sources say that, in most cases, it’s fine to use “further” and “farther” interchangeably, especially when the distinction isn’t clear.

I read that Garner’s Modern American Usage (1) states that in British English, although it’s more common for speakers to use “farther” for physical distance, they will regularly use either “further” or “farther” for figurative distance.

Finally, if you’re interested in the history of usage, “further” seems to be the older word. Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage (2) says it was 1906 when the first usage guide defined a distinction between “further” and “farther.”


1. Garner, B. Garner’s Modern American Usage, 3rd Edition. Oxford University Press, 2009.

2. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1994.

More examples:


Farther shows a relation to physical distance. If you can replace the word farther with “more miles” then you have done it correctly.

  • Our car drove farther than I thought it would on one tank of gas.
  • I wanted to run farther, but I became too exhausted.
  • Our house is farther away from the restaurant than yours.


Further relates to metaphorical distance or depth. It is a time, degree, or quantity. It is also another way of saying “additional.”

  • I asked that there be further discussion on the matter.
  • I need to look further into the logistics of moving farther from my office building.
  • I hope that gas prices drop further for our road trip vacation.

Links used in this article:






Answer key:

  1. farther
  2. further
  3. further
  4. farther
  5. farther, further
  6. further
  7. further
  8. farther
  9. further
  10. farther