When McCain cut his gaze over at Obama last night and gruffly called him "that one," I had one wish: that Latin was still with us. You see, there's a silver dollar Latin word McCain could have pulled out of his pocket: the great demonstrative pronoun, iste. It's my favorite word in Latin, second only to urceatim, an adverb meaning "by the bucketfull." The indispensable Latin grammar guide, Allen and Greenough, notes the following: "Iste …especially refers to one's opponent (in court, etc.), and frequently implies antagonism or contempt." So, the next time the Nobama spirit rises in you at the sight of an Obama bumper sticker or an "I Heart Obama" dog collar, try out that brave weapon-word, iste. After all, there's little more beautiful than well-played Latin invective.
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