Word Nerd

14 Jan

This is the post that I claimed to have been working on before last week’s post. Please note that any hype I may have generated over the course of last week’s post is entirely unmerited.

I am something of a word nerd. From the moment I could read, my parents refused to ever define a word for me. “Go look it up,” was their mantra, and so I became adept at using a dictionary early on. No, I was not a spelling bee queen, but etymologies fascinate me. I’m the kind of person who subscribes to the Dictionary.com word of the day. I have a favorite word. Pandiculation.

Given this brief and not altogether thorough history of my linguistic fetish, it should come as no surprise that I am enthralled with this site which, like many things, I heard about on NPR.

A few notes about Save the Words.org:

  • It requires Flash. Sorry, iPhone and iPad users.
  • The sound will get annoying after approximately ten seconds. Fortunately, you can turn it off.
  • The point of this little site (run by Oxford University Press, surprise?) is that there are all these fun, fascinating little words that have, for one reason or another, fallen out of the English lexicon to the point that they are no longer listed in the dictionary. In theory, if we all adopt one of these endangered words and start using them regularly, we shall rescue their status as relevant.

It’s an interesting goal, and one I can get behind, though I don’t necessarily agree with all their choices. Some of their ‘words,’ such as “long play” and “ten-cent store” are not only not words, but they are senseless to bring back since they refer not to a timeless concept such as being slimy (gleimous) or full of broth (jussulent), but to specific hallmarks of bygone eras. Yes, some would argue that the long-play record will never die. If that is so, why is it no longer in the dictionary?

But more importantly, why is “snobographer” not in the dictionary?

And why can’t I ever find a damn working turntable?

And how am I going to end this post? I apologize for its speustic nature.

No, go look it up.


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