As promised in last week’s column focusing on my duly-dubbed “dictionary duo didoes” – those “from-to” references at the top of pages that provide helpful guidelines to word seekers – following is Part 2 (from “n” to “z”) as the capper-offer to the June 28 onslaught of somewhat supercilious silliness making up the “a” to “m” crowd. All were gleaned from my American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:
narcotic/natal: Lay off those illegal drugs, expectant moms.
Nostradamus/notorious: After all, lots of his prophecies were less than prophetic.
offensive/offset printing: Yeah, it was cumbersome compared to today’s technological advances, but there’s still room for some nostalgia regarding the process.
offshoot/oil well: You can bet your sweet BP that the one that shot off in 2010 produced a spill that was devastating to our nation’s Gulf Coast and marine life.
opportunity/optimize: That’s making the most of it.
optimum/oratorical: Churchillian, in my estimation.
outdo/outrageous: The epitome of one-upmanship.
overexpose/overreach: Bikini swimsuits come to mind.
paintbrush/palaver: For help on the best bristles for the job, check with the good folks at Sherwin-Williams, True Value or…
palooka/Panama: Manuel Noriega.
pedestrian/peer: A hiking group adherent.
perception/perfect: Appears to be as good as it gets.
placebo/plan: These pills won’t hurt ya, but don’t count on ’em helpin’ ya either.
platypus/plead: That duckbill of his is pretty ugly, but he’s still hoping to find a suitable mate.
polarize/politburo: See it our way, Comrade, or the KGB will come calling!
pontiff/pope: Francis responds to either designation, I figure.
porno/portico: An X-rated edifice complex … what’ll they think of next?
posttraumatic/potential: If the skeeters don’t get ya, the gators will.
precipitation/predicament: We’ll be hurting if the monsoon season is simply so-so.
punctilious/puppy: He’s destined to be barking up the right tree.
pup tent/purple: So olive drab is a bit too drab, eh? There might be a market, though, for the Girl Scouts and Brownies.
rile/Rio de Janeiro: The Zika threat is indeed a concern for athletes and spectators alike.
shaver/sheep dip: Just remember, do the dipping BEFORE the shearing in order to eliminate the parasites.
shiftless/shipman: Shape up, sailor!
shipmaster/shock: “Now hear this! This is your captain speaking. And if you DON’T shape up, then I’ll be puttingyou on report … pronto!”
tape deck/tariff: Forget the tariff because none of those little dinosaurs are selling anymore.
term paper/terror: Few things in life are scarier.
treadle/trek: I keep pumping away, but there’s absolutely NO PROGRESS!
turpitude/twang: I realize my speech pattern is atrocious, but can’t you give a little slack when it comes to this here displaced Texan? Thank you!
undoing/unfriendly: It’s not a good thing to kick a guy when he’s already down.
unmoral/unrest: The doctrine of terrorism.
V-engine/Venus’s girdle: I know about the V-engine, in which the pairs of cylinders form V shapes, but the picture of Botticelli’s Venus in the dictionary shows her with NOT A STITCH ON, so a girdle wouldn’t be much of an accessory. (Only kidding. Actually, Venus’s girdle is actually defined as “a ribbon-shaped marine animal having a jelly-like bluish-green, iridescent body.” Just thought you’d like to know.)
vest-pocket/vibrato: Sounds to me like a cell phone.
wanton/warlock: A lewd, licentious character.
Contact the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org