By ERIN MCKEAN
What we are witnessing is the unwinding of what the economist J.K. Galbraith called "the bezzle," the stock of undiscovered embezzled wealth that accumulates during the boom in a country's business and banks.— Europe News: "Essential Task of Unwinding the Bezzle," Wall Street Journal Europe, Nov. 26
Although this noun sense of "bezzle" is most likely a back-formation from "embezzle," the verb "bezzle" in English has meant "to spoil, plunder, or squander" since the 1400s. Bezzle as a noun can also mean "a hard drinker."
Down and Out in the Kitchen
Eventually, Orwell finds work as a plongeur, washing dishes in an expensive hotel where a double door divides the chic restaurant from the filth and chaos of the kitchens.— "Five Best: Aman Sethi on Stories About Work and Working," Review, Nov. 23
In bigger restaurants, a worker called a marmiton would be responsible for washing pots and pans. A restaurant may also have an argentier, who polishes the silver. All are part of the "brigade de cuisine"—the kitchen staff. Plongeur also means "diver."
Measure for Measure
The 19-year-old college student from San Antonio wanted to make a poundcake. But he is a firm believer in the metric system, so baking in Fahrenheit wouldn't do. He "metricated" the oven using "a complicated, nonintuitive sequence of button pressing," he says.— "Cooking a Poundcake in a Metric Oven Is No Easy Task," Page One, Nov. 24
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "metricated" dates back to at least 1969, with the first citation appearing in the Journal of the Institute of Navigation.
The Brotherhood said on its website that its party offices across the country were being attacked by hired thugs, known as "baltagiya," using rocks, Molotov cocktails, sticks and knives.— "Egyptians Rally Against President," World News, Nov. 28
Baltagiya comes from a Turkish word meaning "hatchet man," but is now used to mean any hired thug or enforcer.—Ms. McKean is a lexicographer and the founder of Wordnik, an online dictionary focusing on how words are used today.