Category Archives: words

Word of the Day..or of December: Fletcherize

Fletcherize \FLECH-uh-rahyz\, verb:

To chew (food) slowly and thoroughly.

“She ate half a sack of carrots, and knowing full well that she was eating forbidden fruit, she bolted them, and for her failure to Fletcherize – but speaking of Fletcherizing, did you dine aboard the train?”
— Peter Bernard Kyne, Valley of the giants
The two extra months at sea gave him an insight into a great business, and he had the time to fletcherize his ideas.
— Elbert Hubbard, Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great: Volume 11

Fletcherize is named for the American dietician Horace Fletcher, who advocated chewing each bite of food at least 32 times in order to truly enjoy it.

Horace Fletcher

So, apparently your grandma’s old saying, “Chew your food,” can be summed up as “fletcherize?” Who knew?!

Perhaps there is relevant application for this concept this time of year?

What is the holiday season about, after all? Shopping Presents Spending money Baby Jesus Food! Right?!

I think Fletcher had a point, especially valid during holidays. Chew. Okay, perhaps you may be too distracted by your drunk uncle teasing your aunt, or your kid wobbling on a chair to grab an ornament from the tree, or your dog stealing food from the counters like mine does, to actually count to 32.

Honestly, that is a lot of chewing.

But the point is to taste your food (and maybe help your digestion while you’re at it!).

I’m the first to admit if something tastes great, my mouth gets real excited and gobble-gobble-gobble gets going in there, mixed with a little of more-more-more.
camel chewing
But Fletcher would say, slow down, notice the favors, savor this nourishment, and enjoy.

Which we should all probably be doing with everything this holiday season.

Except for pecan pie.

That I inhale.

Learn-A-Word Wednesday: froward \FROH-werd\

not easily managed; contrary

The mule is a froward animal.

c. 1300, Old English fromweard “turned from or away,” from from + -weard. The opposite of toward, it was Latin pervertus in early translations of the Psalms, and also meant “about to depart, departing,” and “doomed to die.”

I like this word, the opposite of toward. But it does sound like you’re drunk and really meant to say “forward.”

Besides the mule being a froward animal, you could say the kindergartener is a froward animal.
(This is what getting ready for school looks like most of the time.)
Or my dog. Or the hubs.

Come to think of it, I am surrounded by froward animals. Are you?

Learn-A-Word Wednesday: otiose \OH-shee-ohs; OH-tee-\


1. Ineffective; futile.
2. Being at leisure; lazy; indolent; idle.
3. Of no use.

Although the wild outer movements and the angular Minuet can take such clockwork precision, the Andante, with its obsessive, claustrophobic dialogues between strings and bassoons, seemed sluggish and otiose.
— Tim Ashley, “VPO/Maazel”, The Guardian, April 16, 2002

Otiose is from Latin otiosus, “idle, at leisure,” from otium, “leisure.”

I’ve been rebelling against the New Year’s resolutions deal. Sure, I’ve been thinking about them, those positive changes, health issues, to-do lists, de-clutter projects, yada yada. But mostly I’ve been otiose.

Just the word “resolutions” makes me need to sit down. I imagine a large summit meeting, draft resolutions circulated, committee meetings, wording revisions, then at last, a very public signing ceremony for the Final Resolutions. Which get violated the next month by each party.

That’s what has been happening in my head.

And you? Are you jumping on those resolutions? It’s been a week!

Learn-A-Word Wednesday: interregnum /in-ter-reg-nuhm/

1. an interval of time between the close of a sovereign’s reign and the accession of his or her normal or legitimate successor.
2. any period during which a state has no ruler or only a temporary executive.
3. any period of freedom from the usual authority.
4. any pause or interruption in continuity.
1570–80; < L, equiv. to inter- inter- + rēgnum reign

Our country is in an interregnum now, in case you didn’t know, and the economy is not happy about it.

At our house, we had an interregnum recently when I visited a friend in Portland for a weekend. Kid was not happy about it. At least not when we talked on the phone Friday night and her anger contorted into a loud, weepy, swirling heap.

That was fun to hear long distance when dining out with friends. Then I hung up and ordered wine.

We both got over it.

Let’s hope our economy gets over it, too. Go buy wine, everyone!

Helps the economy and calms the ruffled psyche.

And as part of a healthy Sardinian diet, it’s good for you, too. Ask Dr. Oz.

Learn-A-Word Wednesday: omphaloskepsis (om-fuh-lo-SKEP-sis)

Contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation.

It is well known in the usually jocular phrase directed towards self-absorbed pursuits.
From Greek omphalos (navel) + skepsis (act of looking, examination).

You know you love this word. I think the Kid must do this a lot. She can easily because she’s naked much of the time.

As you age, your contemplation might turn from “hey, where’d that color of lint come from?” to “hey, am I imagining things or is my belly button bigger and where is that bag of chips I just put down?”

What deep thoughts do you contemplate while navel gazing?