Just Say the Word

As a child I loved to read the dictionary. My family had this ginormous Webster’s that weighed probably 10 pounds or more. It smelled of dust and old paper, and the pages were thin, like the ones in my grandmother’s bible. Each letter was marked by a rounded indentation on the side and in the back were translations of common words in other languages.

I kept the dictionary under my bed. On Saturday afternoons when there wasn’t anything else to do, I’d drag it out and start looking up words. What can I say…my family didn’t always have the most exciting weekend plans! I’d start out trying to find every bad word I could think of. Some were in there (who knew–a bitch is a female dog!), most weren’t. But from there I’d just start reading the pages at random. And if I didn’t understand a word in a definition, I’d look it up. I would literally spend hours with this dictionary, soaking up all the words and their meanings.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s weird. In fact, most people don’t even know this about me so if you could keep it between us, I’d really appreciate it ;D I still love words and word games. Just ask my kids: favorite games on the iPod Touch? Twisty Text, Scramble and ShakeSpell.

So when a note went out on the Central Coast listserv about saving the words, I had to check it out. According to savethewords.org, 90 percent of everything we write uses only 7,000 words. (If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you probably know my ducinarious favorites!) As a result, hundreds of words are dropped from dictionaries every year.

Well, I decided to use a few succisive moments to adopt some words that have fallen out of use. I’ve never been an inveteratist and being sevidical is not my style, so I tried to choose words that wouldn’t make me seem too acrasial. My husband thinks I’m nuts, but he’s too squiriferous to say a word.

Forty-five minutes later, I realized I’m still the same nerdy girl who loves to get lost in words. I adopted seven words, and I’ll try to use them properly. If you enjoy words, check out the site. And hopefully, you won’t pudify your friends 😀

19 thoughts on “Just Say the Word

  1. I too would pull out the thick massive tome of a dictionary and look up words at random. I've always loved words.

    I had a father with an extensive vocabulary who encouraged me to use the words that I knew.

    This was a great post!

  2. They're DROPPING words out of the dictionary???? I didn't think that was possible. Shouldn't that be against the law? That's possibly the saddest thing I've heard in a long time, really. Because I like to read the dictionary, too.

    So if the word gets dropped does that mean it's not a word anymore? Hmmm…

    What they should really do is make a dictionary of the word verifications. Today's is: emobart. Define that one. 😀

  3. This is SO funny. I think we had the same dictionary, in which I did love looking things up, altho I didn't keep it under my bed. 🙂

    You have read FRINDLE, by Andrew Clements, right? If not, you need to go out instantly and get it!

  4. Mim: Cool! Another word lover!

    Sarah: I do love my dictionaries =)

    PJ: I know you're saving all that brain power for some telekinetic awesomeness!

    T.Anne: It's fun to find new (and old!) words 🙂

    Vivian: Don't you just love ginormous things? I'll have to see if that one's in the dictionary!

    Yat-Yee: I think you would like that site =)

    Kristen: Thesaurus.com is a lot of fun too.

    Beth: Thank you 🙂

    Glam: Isn't it weird to think that words we don't use actually disappear from the dictionary?!

    Becky: Adding Frindle to the list. I've heard of but not read it…yet!

    Rebecca: There aren't many of us who'll admit to it–that's why you have to keep it a secret 🙂

  5. Ha! this post resonates with me because I have a character in my novel (the one currently on submission) who carries a Websters pocket dictionary with her at all times. She's awesome!

  6. My dad kept a dictionary behind his chair at the dining room table. Every night from the time we were tiny, he'd open it at random, point, and find a new word for us to learn: pronunciation, meaning, even derivation. Is that a cool thing for a dad to do, or what?! That man knew how to grow a writer. 🙂 Thanks for the post, Sherrie. Great memories for me!

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