For years and years, I've heard the term 'bully pulpit' used to mean that a person in high public office uses his power to bully others into doing his/her will.
And I've said to myself, in my nerd-like English major way, "No! The phrase was first used by President Theodore Roosevelt and back when when he called the White House "a bully pulpit," bully meant excellent. In other words, it's a good place to make your views heard -- but there's no suggestion of force.
So I was thinking about this yesterday while dragging hoses hither and yon, and after watering the garden and taking a few more pictures, I went inside and asked Mr. Google. I mean, I knew I was right but I wanted confirmation.
Of course it doesn't matter. Words and phrases mean what people want them to mean. But as a writer (and an English major and a teacher of writing,) I'm picky about words.
Well. Not only does Wikipedia agree with me but Michael Quinion of World Wide Words has this excellent explanation.Who says a liberal arts degree is a waste of time? It fills your head with bits of trivia that come in very handy while doing routine jobs or stuck in a waiting room. I can always entertain myself while weeding by reciting the prologue to The Canterbury Tales in Middle English or remind myself of the Seven Deadly Sins by way of the memnomic PEWSLAG. Or try to remember the order of and names of Henry VIII's wives...you get the idea.
I can only imagine the discussions my son the philosophy major has with Marigold when he's milking.