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Dictionary fetish - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Dictionary fetish
I subscribe to dictionary.com's word-of-the-day. This isn't to improve my working vocabulary, because honestly, 95% of the words in the English language aren't part of anyone's working vocabulary and probably shouldn't be, even if he or she happens to know those words. I know what antidisestablishmentarianism means, but I've never had cause to use it in a sentence, except as an example of an ungodly long word... and since the subject of religion and society is an interest of mine (the word refers to this subject), I'd have more cause than most.

No, I don't read my word-of-the-day, or curl up with a good American Heritage or Webster's to learn new and exciting words. I curl up with them to learn that "idea" comes from the same root, apparently, as "penguin." (Weid--, which means "to see," has a direct relationship to ideas, which you see in your head, and somehow also became attached to "white," which is possibly Welsh "wynn," which in turn refers to coloration on a penguin. Maybe we should ditch owls--that's just of imitative origin in Middle English, after the sound an owl makes--as wisdom birds and adopt penguins instead, even though they do look silly.) For some unfathomable reason, this piece of information delights me to no end.

I think that, even without getting into my fannish tendencies, that qualifies me as a geek.

So be it, Jedi.
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Comments
melyanna From: melyanna Date: June 3rd, 2005 03:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Huh. I have randomly remembered that "white" and one of the conjugations of "to know" in German are homonyms. Interesting.

(I suppose this also qualifies me as a geek. But I love it anyway.)
cheshyre From: cheshyre Date: June 3rd, 2005 04:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Etymology is so fascinating.

If you're interested, OED also has a word of the day online @ http://www.oed.com/cgi/display/wotd
tunxeh From: tunxeh Date: June 3rd, 2005 09:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
But no RSS feed for the OED one that I can find.
maple_clef From: maple_clef Date: June 3rd, 2005 04:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know what antidisestablishmentarianism means, but I've never had cause to use it in a sentence...

Unlike the writers of Blackadder, who somehow managed to work it into a comedy sketch :D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 3rd, 2005 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
:is dying to see script for this sketch:
siriaeve From: siriaeve Date: June 3rd, 2005 04:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
It has to be one of those cosmic coincidences that I have Blackadder III on right now, isn't it?

From Dish and Dishonesty:


Edmund: Well, you could appoint him a High Court judge.

Prince George: Is he qualified?

Edmund: He's a violent, bigoted, mindless old fool.

Prince George: Sounds a bit overqualified... Well, send him here at once!

Edmund: Certainly, sir. I will return before you can say `antidisestablishmentarianism'.

Prince George: Well, I wouldn't be too sure about that! `Antidistibblincemin...' `Antimistilinstid...' `Antistits...'

(Caption: Two Days Later)

Prince George: Anti-distinctly-minty-(???)...


I share your love for the etymology of words, by the way. There's nothing so fascinating as finding out, say, that the name of the town near where you live is derived from the Latin for 'harbour', even though I live nowhere near the sea. So interesting.
maple_clef From: maple_clef Date: June 3rd, 2005 04:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's the one - I love those cosmic coincidences :)
siriaeve From: siriaeve Date: June 3rd, 2005 04:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hee. They're one of the things that help make life shiny. Usually ;)
rabidfangurl From: rabidfangurl Date: June 3rd, 2005 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe we should ditch owls--that's just of imitative origin in Middle English, after the sound an owl makes--as wisdom birds and adopt penguins instead, even though they do look silly.

My love for Terry Prachett has just increased exponentially. The man is bloody brilliant.
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: June 3rd, 2005 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd say the reason it delights you is that it is delightful. In high school I planned to be an etymologist mainly because I was so excited to discover that there was a fun word to name the profession.

In my experience geeks have more fun, so wear your title proudly. I'm trying to get my family to understand that this internet thing is nothing different, it's just a way to finally talk to other people who share traits I've had all along. And really, they're much geekier than they think they are.
chocolatepot From: chocolatepot Date: June 3rd, 2005 07:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whoa! Penguins = wise? In Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett, the sculptor was supposed to be carving an owl on the shoulder of the goddess of wisdom, but he messed up and carved a penguin. So the penguin became the bird of wisdom. That's probably one of those things where Terry means so, so much more than he's writing.

I <3 etymology and linguistics.
chocolatepot From: chocolatepot Date: June 3rd, 2005 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Unless you knew that already.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 3rd, 2005 07:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nope. Sounds like another dictionary addict out there...
falasta From: falasta Date: June 3rd, 2005 08:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm . . . I have no idea if "penguin" has anything to do with Welsh or not, but if it did;

pen = chief, or head
gwyn = white, or sacred

So then either you have a white head or a sacred chieftain =)
amelia_eve From: amelia_eve Date: June 3rd, 2005 11:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
My favorite vocabulary builder is A Word A Day. The webmaster offers a theme for each week, and the examples are from real quotations. I also appreciate that he quotes from throughout the Anglophone world, not just US and UK sources.
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