Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ten Dollar Words

"I love my dictionary
And I love the indented border.
Every word’s in alphabetical order.
Ergo, lost things
Always can be found ..."
William Finn

DAY 114:  I love words.  In particular, I love NEW words that send me running giddily to the dictionary - what my friend Staci calls "Ten Dollar Words."  Over the years, I've collected some favorites ... "ubiquitous," "tantamount," and "penultimate" have all become regulars in my conversation.  I suppose it's the writer and the reader in me that finds discovering new words so exciting and I'm grateful for having a pretty darned extensive vocabulary!

It also means that I have an affinity for word games.  The New York Times and USA Today crossword puzzle "apps" are two of the most used on my iPhone.  Just this past week, I also started playing with another app called "Words With Friends," which allows you to play a Scrabble-like game with others who have also downloaded the game.  I'm now in the middle of about six simultaneous games that I've been checking on my phone almost as obsessively as I check in with Facebook.

The downside of a great vocabulary?  It often takes me forever to finish a blog post, e-mail, memo, letter, or Facebook status or comment as I agonize over JUST the right choice of word or grammatical structure.  It also makes me KEENLY aware when someone uses the wrong word.  I won't correct an adult, but I will point out when I hear a student using a word incorrectly.  Just this past week, I was tired and rather ill-tempered in class and a child called me a "pessimist." I quickly pointed out to her that the word pessimist does NOT mean "someone in a bad mood."  She didn't believe me and most of them don't - well, I guess that's pessimistic, isn't it?  Optimists can be in a bad mood, too ... though optimists are the ones who tend to put pessimists IN their bad moods ...

What's my newest acquisition?  APOCRYPHAL, meaning "of doubtful authenticity."  It was part of a Facebook status last night, written by my trans-Atlantic friend, Sebastian.  What a great word, huh?  I can't wait to use it in conversation!!

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