Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Way Cool Words
I just love learning new words. Like many of you I’m subscribed to the Word a Day e-mail. I can’t pay attention to these every day, but some days the word and its meaning is just so cool it catches my attention, and I have to write it down. I’ve got these sticky notes floating around my computer full of these words. At some point I’m going to have to enter them in by three-by-five card file of cool words. But as long as they’re in front of me and I glance at them every now and then—it’ll help me remember them.
Here’s a list of some I’ve run across recently:
Oniomania: overwhelming urge to shop. From the Greek onios, meaning for sale. I taught this one to my teenager daughter, who scooped it right up. If the shoe fits . . .
Aphatic: dark, without sunlight. Great word to use metaphorically.
Procellous: stormy, as in sea. Another great metaphoric one.
Garbology: study of a culture through what it throws away. I mean really—such a form of study really exists? My spell checker tells me this isn’t even a word. Shows what it knows.
Miscible: capable of being mixed together. Compounds, sure. But think in terms of people...
Tarantism: overwhelming urge to dance. Like me with rock music. And listen, BGs, I get this one first. It shows up in somebody’s chick lit, I’m comin’ after you.
Senectitude: old age. What a cool word. Senectitude. Just trips off the tongue. Another one my spell checker doesn’t know. Come to think of it—so far miscible is the only word it does know. Somebody in Microsoft needs to subscribe to Word a Day.
Prevenient: coming before, anticipatory. Not really a new word to me, but a reminder of a great concept. As in prevenient grace. (Spell checker doesn’t even know this one. Sheesh.)
Phatic: relating to words meant to generate social relationship rather than convey information. Example—“How are you?” Way cool—there’s a word for this nonsense?
Clinquant: glittering (adjective) or tinsel, glitter (noun). Secondary meaning: the glitz BC wears on her jeans. And shirts. And sunglasses. And purse . . .
Bromide: a tired or meaningless remark, as in “Everything will be OK.” Or a tiresome or boring person. I love the first meaning. "She writhed in the floor in anguish, and all he could do was offer bromides..."
Acidulous: somewhat sour in taste or manner. I know some people like this.
Exiguous: scanty, small, slender. In other words, what all we women would like to be.
So—how ’bout writing a sentence with as many of these as you can use? Most creative (or awful, depending on how you look at it) wins a dog biscuit. Here’s mine:
On that procellous and aphatic night with clinquant stars shining in a prevenient dawn, a shocking and unusually miscible oniomania and tarantism descended upon the exiguous form of the bromide Mabel Struggs, who in her senectitude had heretofore spent her energy in the mere spouting of phatics and the nosey garbology of her acidulous next-door neighbors.