Sipperly laughed wheezily, then he saw that Janson was serious. An avaricious look crept over his fleshy features. “Well, joking aside, I’m really very fond of that dog,” he recovered. “He’s truly one-of-a-kind. Excellent guard dog … “

Robert Ludlum, The Janson Directive, 2002.

one-of-a-kind adjective [before noun]
used to describe a product or service that is the only one of its type, or that is very unusual:
The one-of-a-kind pieces are due to go to auction later this month. [Cambridge Business English Dictionary]


You must understand that the general public did not know, at that time, that time-travel was being investigated. It was not an expensive project as long as it was a matter of working on theory, but experimental work had punished the budget and was bound to punish it still more. This was most uncomfortable for scientists engaged in an endeavor that seemed totally “blue-sky.”

William F. Wu, Isaac Asimov’s Robots in Time 1: Predator, 1993

This Sunday supplement article, now nearly six weeks old and smelling pungently of shed and woodbox, quoted two local psychiatrists who had been perfectly happy to blue-sky the situation as long as their names weren’t printed. One of them mentioned a particular sexual aberration – the urge to commit some violent act at the moment of orgasm. Nice, Johnny thought, grimacing. He strangled them to death as he came. His headache was getting worse all the time.

Stephen King, The Dead Zone, 1979

“You’re right, of course,” Glen muttered, and ran a hand over his sandpapery cheek. “Harold, I apologize. I’m very upset. I knew this sort of thing could happen ー pardon me, would happen ー but I guess I only knew it in an academic way. This is a lot different than sitting in the old study, blue-skying things.”

Stephen King, The Stand, 1978

This is why some of the world’s biggest and most tough-minded corporations, once the living embodiment of presentism, today hire intuitive futurists, science fiction writers and visionaries as consultants. A gigantic European chemical company employs a futurist who combines a scientific background with training as a theologian. An American communications empire engages a future-minded social critic. A glass manufacturer searches for a science fiction writer to imagine the possible corporate forms of the future. Companies turn to these “blue-skyers” and “wild birds” not for scientific forecasts of probabilities, but for mind-stretching speculation about possibilities.

Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, 1970


Pavhari Baba was born near Varanasi of brahmin parents. In his youth he had mastered many branches of Hindu philosophy. Later he renounced the world, led an austere life, practised the disciplines of Yoga and Vedanta, and travelled over the whole of India. At last he settled in Ghazipur, where he built an underground hermitage on the bank of the Ganga and spent most of his time in meditation. He lived on practically nothing and so was given by the people the sobriquet of the ‘air-eating holy man’; all were impressed by his humility and spirit of service. Once he was bitten by a cobra and said while suffering terrible pain, ‘Oh, he was a messenger from my Beloved!’ Another day, a dog ran off with his bread and he followed, praying humbly, ‘Please wait, my Lord; let me butter the bread for you.’ Often he would give away his meagre food to beggars or wandering monks, and starve.

Swami Nikhilananda, Swami Vivekananda: A Biography, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York, 1953. [PDF]

Use a hyphen

Hyphen (-)

■ Use a hyphen whenever two or more words are joined together to serve as an adjective directly before a noun (unless the first word ends in -ly). → The well-regarded teacher was honored for his exceptionally hard work and dedication.
■ Use a hyphen when writing out fractions and compound numbers. → I spent one-third of my allowance on books and DVDs.
■ Use a hyphen with compound nouns. → My sister-in-law works at the local mall.

English to the Max: 1, 200 Practice Questions That Will Maximize Your English Power, Learning Express LLC, 2008, p.7


Creating words from nothing is comparatively rare. Most words are made from other words, for example, by combining whole words or word parts.

John Algeo, The Origins and Development of the English Language, 6th ed., Wadsworth, 2009, p.227

Scraps of conversation come back to me with the memory of her room. I remember her saying: ‘When I was a girl we were comparatively poor, but still richer than most of the world, and when I married I became very rich. It used to worry me, and I thought it wrong to have so many beautiful things when others had nothing. Now I realize that it is possible for the rich to sin by coveting the privileges of the poor. The poor have always been the favourites of God and his saints, but I believe that it is one of the special achievements of Grace to sanctify the whole of life, riches included. Wealth in pagan Rome was necessarily something cruel; it’s not any more.’

Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited, 1945

a dozen examples

(In a List of Beauty Recipes) 5. An infallible wrinkle-remover. 6. A superfluous hair-remover (i.e. a hair-remover that no-one wants). / The financial record of the Lloyd George-Winston Churchill Government (i.e. of the Government composed of Lloyd, Churchill, & George Winston). / Mr Scott Dickson, the ex-Tory Solicitor-General for Scotland (i.e. the Solicitor-General who formerly was but no longer is a Tory). / The Unionist Housing of the Working-Classes Bill was read a second time yesterday (i. e. the way the Unionists house the Working-Classes Bill; poor ill-housed Billy!). / Grieving, as a Nonconformist, over the sins of his fellow-Free Churchmen (i.e. of his Churchmen who are unhampered by companions). / (Heading) PEACE MEETING RIOT (i.e. the way peace deals with riot; what is meant is riot at a peace-meeting). / Even the most bigoted anti-trade unionist (i.e. the unionist who is most opposed to trade). / The Chancello, plans to reconstruct the Billow (Conservative-National-Liberal) Block (i.e. that of Conservatives, Nationals, & Liberals; what is meant is that of the Conservatives & the National Liberals). / Last April the Acting-British Consul at Shiraz was attacked (i.e. the Consul who was pretending to be British). / And Sir Henniker-Heaton is more fortunate than many of those who cry in the wilderness (If Henniker is Christian name, no hyphen; if it is surname, a Christian name is wanted; see hon.). / If lay-writers can publish what they please, are naval officers to remain compulsorily silent? (i.e. writers of lays). / (A Reichstag party) intent on introducing an anti-English & strong Navy agitation into the elections (i.e. a strong agitation about the Navy; but what is meant is an agitation for a strong Navy).

H. W. Fowler, A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, Oxford University Press, 1926; the classic first edition, 2009, pp.243-244.

Continue reading


banyan [17] Banyan originally meant ‘Hindu trader’. It is an arabization of Gujarati vāniyān ‘traders’, which comes ultimately from Sanskrit vanija ‘merchant’ (the Portuguese version, banian, produced an alternative English spelling). When European travellers first visited Bandar Abbas, a port on the Persian Gulf, they found there a pagoda which the banyans had built in the shade of a large Indian fig tree. They immediately applied the name banyan to this particular tree, and the term later widened to include all such trees.

John Ayto, Word Origins: The Secret histories of English Words from A to Z, 2nd ed. (A & C Black, 2005)


In Japanese Buddhist belief, the bosatsu (future Buddha) is considered the god or goddess of mercy. Kannon was originally a male god but eventually came to be considered female. Myths and legends therefore sometimes portray Kannon as male, sometimes as female. According to myth, Kannon was born when a beam of light flashed from the right side of the Buddha Amitabha. She decided to stay on earth as a bodhisattva, or “Buddha-to-be,” and help humankind.

Jeremy Roberts, Japanese Mythology A to Z, 2nd Ed., Chelsea House


There are many science-is-fun books for young readers. But it isn’t only children who wonder “Why?” or “How?” Curiosity doesn’t end at puberty, nor does the genuine fun of understanding why things happen.

Robert Wolke, What Einstein Told His Barber: More Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions, Dell


science-is-fun book の science-is-fun のように、もともと複数の語であるものをハイフンで強引につなげばそれで一語になる。このような語は複合語 (compound; compound word) と呼ばれる。この場合は、名詞 books の前に置かれているので形容詞として機能し、複合形容詞 (compound adjective) に分類される。

science-is-fun が新語として辞書に載る可能性はほとんどないと思うが、そんなこととは無関係に、言葉を新しく作り出すのはだれにとっても楽しいことだろう。ハイフンを使うだけでそれまでばらばらだった言葉がひとつになる。これは一番手軽な新語作成法で、ワタシもついつい作ってみたくなる。

科学も楽しいが、ハイフンで言葉をつなぐのも楽しい。A compound word is a hyphenation-is-fun word.