Thursday, January 28, 2010

[Heart] Words

I am happy that I paid attention in high school and completed my vocabulary lessons. I am grateful that Dr. B. took the dictionary out when he had a no-show and reviewed words I had learned in high school (avuncular comes to mind) and taught me new ones while I was doing day sheets. Using good, not necessarily big, but good, smart words gives me a thrill.

Using the word tarmac for the first time made me feel like I had arrived; it was the intellectual equivalent to a debutante ball. (Woo hoo! I travel; it’s a tarmac, not a parking lot for planes!) Likewise, I bristle when I hear someone misuse a word, like nonplussed. (I know it sounds like I’m “not plussed” (even though plussed is not a word), so people think it means I’m “not confused,” but it means the opposite. Nonplussed means confused. A nonplus is a quandary.) Finally, I still care enough about words that when I hear one I believe is mispronounced I will get up and take the time to look it up in the dictionary. (For the record, the guy on the news wasn’t wrong when he said forMIDable with stress on the second syllable, but the way I pronounce it, with stress on the first, is the first pronunciation given.) (And, people, plethora is PLEthora, not pleTHORa. The latter is not even an option.)

I love that word, plethora, and avuncular, and nonplussed, and heretofore. Antithetical is a favorite, and specious is a good one too. Portend and prescient get a high five, and ornery definitely gets a “good word!” out of me. I find myself using gauche a lot (shame that I find the need) and bourgeois comes in handy. While the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary does list staycation and frenemy (egads!), it does not acknowledge jackassery. I, however, do. It’s in my favorite old-school dictionary (Webster's Ninth New Collegiate), and it’s a favorite word. In fact, a lot of it goes on in my classroom and the halls at school, so I’d be lost without it.

Debacle, snafu, behoove, comeuppance, upend, erudite, fecund... oh how I [heart] words.


Amy said...

And most of your favorites are derived from Latin. How about that?

Tam said...

Conundrum, menage, loquacious, vernacular and, my all time favorite, strajava.

P.S. Amy, I love learning the Latin roots of words, even though I never took one class.

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