Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word



Nov 25, 2019
This week’s theme
Words related to weapons

This week’s words
hatchet job
smoking gun
great guns

An Australian soldier in Ypres, Belgium, during WWI (detail)
Photo: Official War Photographer, British Govt.

Previous week’s theme
Words to describe people
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
with Anu Garg

Make love, not war. Sounds like a pretty good idea, unless you’re an arms manufacturer. Unlike toothpaste or shoes, we don’t run out of or wear out weapons in our day-to-day life, so you have to get a war going from time to time. And, what’s a few thousand lives if God himself calls upon you to lobby to start a war? God being the almighty dollar.

Here in the US we spend more on the military than the next seven countries combined (see the chart US vs. World Military Spending). We are so unprotected. Let’s pray the next eight countries don’t band together and attack us.

Or we could beat some of those swords into ploughshares. We could sure use some of the money to pay for pre-schools, college, healthcare, and more. Fun fact: more than half the bankruptcies in the US are due to medical expenses.

Millennia of fighting has left its imprint on the language. The English language has many terms related to weapons that are now used as metaphors, for example, loose cannon and gauntlet. This week we’ll see five more such terms.



adjective: Stunned, confused, and exhausted as a result of experiencing intense stress, such as in a war zone.

From shell, from Old English sciell + shock, from French choc, from choquer (to collide). Earliest documented use: 1898.

“Perhaps Canada’s politicians felt a bit shell-shocked after living dangerously during these stressful Trumpian moments, but that is no excuse.”
Tony Burman; After Trump; Toronto Star (Canada); Oct 19, 2019.

See more usage examples of shell-shocked in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

We haven't yet learned how to stay human when assembled in masses. -Lewis Thomas, physician and author (25 Nov 1913-1993)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2024 Wordsmith