Unbeknownst

Maybe it is because I have just become addicted to online scrabble games, playing against my phone but all I seem to see these days are weird words and strange combinations of spellings as I try to outwit my phone by using top scoring letters on triple letter or word scores. One word I doubt I would have space for is unbeknownst.

It is nevertheless a very pleasing word.  The meaning is simple – that a certain person is ignorant of a fact or action.

unbeknownst

Unbeknownst to Simon, his girlfriend planned a surprise birthday party.

 Unbeknownst to the public, most of the cast had food poisoning but managed to finish the show without any major difficulties.

 Checking on internet led me to various forums with writers vehemently denying use or existence of the word and many others defending it.  I tried to recall when I first saw it and it was probably in a novel.  It’s colourful old worldly style makes it a good addition to narratives but it would tend to be found in more formal, less casual work. There is a version, unbeknown, but I have preferred to use the version with –st. Corpus data rate it as seldom used but the number of contributors online who swore they use it regularly shows that it has its fans.

unbeknownst2

Poem from: picssr.com

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A tad

Growing up in New Zealand I don’t recall the expression “a tad” being used very much at all but subsequent return visits have confirmed that it is now a firm fixture in local language.

Its origins seem to be in the US and as an abbreviation of tadpole (the baby frog), used to refer to a small child. Reference materials for British English also attribute a similar meaning.

We use it however in two main forms: as a noun

tad1

How much milk do you take in your coffee? Just a tad, not too much

 And as an adverb to mean slightly,

I’m running a tad late. I’ll get there as soon as I can

tad2 

Today will be a tad chilly with temperatures reaching a high of 12 degrees.

 He’s a tad drunk, can’t you tell?