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Balloon goes up — the beginning of just about any enterprise. Originally referring to an observation balloon sent aloft to tell gunners to begin firing.

Dud — A shell or bomb that fails to explode; later, a person or enterprise that proves to be a failure.

Eleventh hour — Just in time, at the last moment. The armistice of World War I came into effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.



Word fanciers are watching carefully to see what words and phrases we will incorporate into our everyday usage from the war in Iraq. The BBC maintains a site (E-cyclopedia's words of war). The English paper The Guardian especially is having fun with new vocabulary in their "The language of war" series (www.guardian.co.uk), and on www.theconnection.org you can find some interesting words in the April 4 entry. Here are a few samples:



Axis of weasel — France, Russia and China, according to U.S. tabloids.

— BBC News.

Calibrate — As in "Calibrate me, Dick," — Just a high-tech, precision-guided version of "Correct me if I'm wrong," the Dick in question being Richard Meyers, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.

— The Guardian.

Deconflicting the airspace — Making sure American and British planes don't crash into each other.

— The Connection.

Killboxes — Grids locating targets.

— The Connection.

Pentagonspeak — The collection of buzzwords, catchphrases and mots du jour employed by U.S. strategists … no doubt inspired by Orwell's Newspeak.

— BBC News.

Real-time television connections — This describes the unmanned aerial vehicles flying over Iraq that beam live pictures back to base, known as "real-time television connectivity."

—The Guardian.

Situational awareness — This means troops should be aware of their surroundings.

— The Guardian.

Softening up — Means bombing.

— The Connection.



Let Rosie hear from you by telephone (358-0825, est. 322); by mail (Style Weekly, 1797 Summit Ave., Suite 201, Richmond, Va. 23230; or by e-mail, rozanne.epps@styleweekly.com.

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