What's in a Word | All Blogs

Venting one’s spleen

By Debra Dobbins


Words to know before reading the editorial below:

Bilious – in a general sense, bad-tempered or cross, according to Webster’s. It more specifically means having some illness created by a malfunction of the bile or liver.

Adorns – decorates

Caricatures – cartoon depictions of people, usually with one or two features exaggerated

Modicum – small amount

Loathe – hate

Flatulence – gassiness; used in a more general sense in the editorial, it means crudeness


Since two words above refer to bodily malfunctions, I can’t resist asking the following questions:

How much should public figures accept “taking a ribbing” before criticism of them “goes below the belt”?

Was the financial backer justified in anonymously “venting his spleen” or should this person “have the backbone” to acknowledge funding the billboard?

Should the billboard’s buyer be given “the cold shoulder” or be lauded for making a “straight from the shoulder” statement?

Is the challenge of balancing our individual First Amendment rights with our social responsibility to disagree respectfully one that we all should “take to heart”?



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