Words, words, words

As fast as I look up definitions for the new words I notice around me, more keep coming.  Now that I’m really paying attention, a single story in The New Yorker will yield twenty words – words I’ve seen before, and could even throw into a hastily written sentence, but wouldn’t be able to precisely define.  How have I been managing all these years?  It’s reminiscent of getting new glasses – for the first time clearly perceiving the world around me.  Assuming, of course, that those wielding these instruments of language do it correctly.  (The plane does NOT take off “momentarily,” thank you very much!)  After William Safire misused “begging the question,” I’ve learned not to take anything for granted.

I have 425 definitions noted, 100 words waiting to be defined, and … the processes of lookups yields ever more.  I don’t need to look up asymptotic, but that may be the process on my hands.  Which is a shame, ‘cos I’ve been waiting to “complete” my list before uploading it all to Mental Case for iPhone flashcard practice.   At this rate, I’ll soon have more English than Spanish words to learn!  Maybe my dream job is taking the SAT/GRE for desperate trustafarians.  (I didn’t just say that.)

What are these words, you’re probably wondering by now.  A favorite addition to my quiver is crepuscular:  primarily active at twilight or dusk.   “Zee firefly, she is crepuscular.”  Quotidian usage for the home schooled crowd, I’m sure, but new to me.

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5 Responses to “Words, words, words”

  1. susan Says:

    You are right that crepuscular is in quotidian use in our homeschool crowd. When I was in junior high I kept a thick pocket dictionary with me and I marked every word I looked up. When I had marked a word 3 times I committed it to memory.

    A word that surprised me recently was salient. I always thought the most salient feature meant the most essential or pertinent. So I was surprised to find that it is the feature that leaps out at you.

    1: moving by leaps or springs : jumping2: jetting upward 3 a: projecting beyond a line, surface, or level b: standing out conspicuously : prominent ; especially : of notable significance

  2. Emily Says:

    I just realized I haven’t written anything in so long that perhaps I have forgotten that some words even exist? I will be relying on your blog to supply much-needed reminders.

  3. tracycarver Says:

    What does dystopic mean?

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