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Week 1- nip Week 2- kid Week 3- leak Week4- mad


“A chill wind was blowing that nipped at him sharply.” In his book, The Call of the Wild, Jack London used this expression to describe what his main character was feeling as he traveled across the cold terrain. Nip, our word this week, is a short but sassy little word with a lot of different meanings. The British use this word more than Americans but with more openness of meaning. Nip seems to have originated with the Dutch as a short form of a small liquor container but the Brits use it to express a quick, darting motion. Be careful of what nips at you!


“Nip off the flower bud with your fingers.” One of the most often used verb meanings of nip is “to catch hold of and squeeze tightly between two surfaces, edges, or points.” Another often used meaning is “to destroy the growth, progress, or fulfillment of” something. The British use nip in the following sense as in “to make a quick trip.” As a noun nip means “something that nips.” Whether it is to squeeze, to stop progress or a quick trip watch your ‘nips’ that they don’t bite your buns!


“I nipped upstairs to fetch my book.” This example sentence is typical of the British use of the word in the sense of making a quick trip. In this use, the quick, short motion is typical in its meaning. Oddly enough, in Britain and Europe, this word also has a connotation of use as a term associated with alcohol. “He took a nip of brandy” might be how they would use it. In that sense it is associated with small amounts. Be careful how much you ‘nip’ the hard stuff!


“He nipped the rumor in the bud.” The use of nip in this case is to cut short. That is the sense in which ‘nip’ is normally used to indicate fast action. The result then is a short quick motion that is meant to destroy growth, progress, or fulfillment of some act. Most often ‘nip’ is used to indicate a preventive function. Seldom do you see nip used in a positive manner. Let your fingers do the ‘nipping,’ but not your tongue!


“Nip a bad relationship in the beginning before it has time to inflict serious damage.” Failure to do this opens the door for pain and suffering. Such pain and suffering not covered by God’s grace is not profitable. It will leave bad scars. Many times these scars do emotional and mental damage that is hard to overcome. Why then would you open the door to a bad relationship? Try to steer clear of such bad relationships and your life will be much more enjoyable. Nip it now to enjoy smoother waters ahead!

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“He was just kidding around about seeing a UFO yesterday.” Some people take jesting (to kid) seriously as indicated in our example sentence. There is a time and place for kidding and there is a time not too. When you are ‘kidding’ someone, don’t leave them with a misunderstanding. To do so is bad communication skill. Be a good kid and let them know what you mean!


“The mother goat stood her ground to protect her kid.” This week’s word ‘kid’ can be used as a verb, adverb or adjective. As such, it has several definitions. Its most normal use is to identify a young goat. Kid can also be used to refer to a younger individual who has less experience. As a transitive verb, it can mean “to deceive as a joke or to fail to admit the truth” as in they’re kidding themselves. As an intransitive verb, it can mean “to engage in good-humored fooling or horseplay.” Don’t let your kids run over you!


“He has a wife and two kids.” In this expression, ‘kid’ is referring to young children, but this word can also be used in the sense of young goats. The common thread in this usage of the word ‘kid’ is a reference to young offspring. However, the use of the word as a term for ‘joking’ or humorous action is hardly connected to young goats or children except in the sense of childish actions of the young. This might include a failure to admit the truth or make light of the truth by making a joke. It is no joke to ‘kid’ about the truth!


“It’s the truth; I wouldn’t kid you.” An often used expression, but it might be appropriate if you need to convince someone that you are not joking. Good humored fooling or horseplay can produce unexpected results. When those unexpected results happen, then we need to change the end result into something that is believable. That is when “I wouldn’t kid you” might be the right answer. Kidding around normally means that what is said or done is of little consequence. Stop kidding around if you want to be taken seriously!


“She has to leave early and pick up her kids at school.” Yes, our relationships include those with our children as well as spouses. Family interactions and associations are sometimes the most sensitive relationships we have. A positive atmosphere in the home can be most productive for good interactions between parents and siblings. A good plan with clear rules is a positive step for family relationships. Also having and using a decision tree authority structure helps establish who is in control and when. Make a plan for good relationships and don’t kid around with it!

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“Air leaked out of the tire.” This is an experience that most of us have had at one time or another. This week’s word ‘leak’ is a common one that might have more meanings to it than we might expect. It seems that this word first originated in the 15th century in Britain’s Middle English to convey loss. In our present day usage it has taken on a wider use. Do be careful when you let something leak out!


“The cracked pipe leaked fumes into the room.” The three simplest definitions of ‘leak’ are (a) to let something in or out through a hole in a surface, (b) of a liquid, gas, etc.: to come in or go out through a hole in a surface, (c) to give [secret information] to someone so that it becomes known to the public. The first two meanings are physical breaks or holes in a pipe or container. The last is an expression often used by media to disclose information that is not commonly known or damaging to its owner. Normally the end result of a ‘leak’ is to create a dangerous environment in the immediate vicinity. Be careful how you handle the source of a leak!


“Water was leaking through a hole in the roof of the Diamondback stadium.” Yes, even in Arizona we have rain and a leaky roof on the baseball stadium. The leak was above the pitcher’s mound and was shown on national TV last week. The leak was a sign that the stadium needs some repairs to the retractable roof. For the roof to leak water was a symptom of letting something through a surface unexpectedly. Unexpected leaks do require immediate attention!


“When a reporter revealed classified information, the source of the leak was investigated.” In this use of the work ‘leak’ it is the releasing of confidential or secret information to the public. This type of leak will do damage although it will not have physical evidence as in a water or gas leak. The damage then must be repaired so that normal security can be maintained. Leaky sources need to be fixed!


Beware of leaky relationships! A key component of relationships is trust. If a relationship is being constantly rocked by confidential information being released without permission, that is not a good relationship. Plug the leak or close your reliance upon that person to keep silent about sensitive personal secrets. Teach your children how important it is that others have confidence in their personal integrity on how to keep a secret. Secrets shared by another are to be kept in silence!

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“The entire senate was mad about the delay.” Of the many ways that this word can be used, the most common is to show anger. Furious and frantic are probably two synonyms that show similar conditions. The intensity of one’s anger will likely determine the intended descriptor words that describe the state of emotional anger. Beware being mad to the point that you lose control!


“Have I gone mad? I’m afraid so…” In his novel, Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll wrote those words. It illustrates clearly one of the definitions of ‘mad’ as in “unable to think in a clear or sensible way.” Some say that it borders on a second meaning as in “having or showing severe mental illness.” The third most used meaning of this word is to a state of intense anger. There are several more less used definitions of ‘mad” including a medical use. Just be careful and don’t get lost in the madness of Carroll’s Wonderland!


“She’s mad for a cute boy in her class.” In this example sentence, we see yet another variation in the meaning of ‘mad.’ The young lady is carried away by her enthusiasm or desire for this young lad who is the object of her attention. This is another way in which we see the definition “unable to think in a clear or sensible way” illustrated. She is not ‘mad’ in the sense of mental illness but by an overcoming desire for his attention. Such attention or enthusiasm can be powerful and overwhelming. Just be sure you keep your head on straight!


“If you keep teasing that dog, you’ll make him mad.” Doing an action that is irritating to an animal or person will produce unwanted results. Those results will be intense and hurtful to the irritator. Negative and unkind actions will not produce likable reactions. Agitation that brings out such anger is unnecessary and unproductive. Use care in how you treat any animal and other human beings. Don’t make them ‘mad’ just for the fun of it!


“John said that Sally is just mad about Harry.” In this example sentence, ‘mad’ is used as an expression of intense desire, not that of anger. Other than that of ‘intense desire,’ mad should not be a part of any relationship. However, as with any emotion, control can be a dubious restraint but much care should be used to not allow anger to cause a problem with important relationships. Don’t be mad, just be glad!

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