Questions From My Notebook

I have been keeping this small silver notebook- about 6 inches tall and four inches wide, fits in my pocket, and easily can be pulled out at any moment to take down a note.

In the back of the notebook, I have taken down (mostly) words and some phrases that I need help with, bits and pieces to look up later.

Here are some:

morass: –noun

1. a tract of low, soft, wet ground.
2. a marsh or bog.
3. marshy ground.

[Origin: 1645–55; < D moeras, alter. (by assoc. with moer marsh; cf. moor1) of MD maras < OF mareis < Gmc. See marsh]



1. Law. a movable article of personal property.
2. any article of tangible property other than land, buildings, and other things annexed to land.
3. a slave.

[Origin: 1175–1225; ME chatel < OF. See cattle]



1. a small bus or car following a regular route along which it picks up and discharges passengers, originally charging each passenger five cents.
2. Older Slang. a nickel; five-cent piece.

–verb (used with object), verb (used without object)

3. to carry or ride in a jitney.

[Origin: 1900–05, Americanism; of obscure orig.; F jeton jetton is a phonetically implausible source]

How to spell Muammar al-Gadafi’s name in Arabic: معمر القذافي

Muammar al-Gaddafi

What is Calico as a noun? (not like the cat, i know that!):


1. a plain-woven cotton cloth printed with a figured pattern, usually on one side.
2. British. plain white cotton cloth.
3. an animal having a spotted or particolored coat.
4. Obsolete. a figured cotton cloth from India.

[Origin: 1495–1505; short for Calico cloth, var. of Calicut cloth, named after city in India which orig. exported it]

The Different names for the Moroccan City “Casablanca”: Casablanca (Spanish for “white house” ; Standard Arabic: الدار البيضاء transliterated ad-Dār al-Bayḍāʼ; Moroccan Arabic: dar beïda)

also: French “maison blanche


2 Responses to “Questions From My Notebook”

  1. 1 Shira July 30, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Colin, did you look up “morass” because Hillary Rodham wrote it like 9 times in quotations used in that NYT article?

  2. 2 Colin July 30, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Actually, no. I read it in my Hernando de Soto book, and then looked it up that night. The next morning I read the NYT piece on Hillary’s letters, and I noticed it too. I think it’s that “volkswagen beetle” phenomenon.

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