Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dictionary Definition


Growing up, if I didn’t know what a word in a book meant and I asked, Mom and Dad would make me look it up in the dictionary (I know…SERIOUSLY…Mr. and Mrs. Genghis Khan over here!).
But it’s really good that they did that. Train up a child in the way she should go…and when she is in grad school, she will not depart from it… Because now I kind of love the dictionary. What’s more…I really love stumbling on words I’ve never seen before. Here are a few I’ve encountered in the last week.


noun \ek-ˈdi-zē-ˌast, -zē-əst\

Definition: stripteaser

Origin: Greek ekdysīs

First Known Use: 1940

As in, ‘Hey, aren’t you glad I’m getting my PhD so I can learn words like ‘ecdysiast’?



adj \-ənt\

Definition: marked by or arousing an immoderate or unwholesome interest or desire; especially: marked by, arousing, or appealing to sexual desire

Origin: Latin prurient-, pruriens, present participle of prurire to itch, crave; akin to Latin pruna glowing coal, Sanskrit ploṣati he singes, and probably to Latin pruina hoarfrost — more at freeze

First Known Use: 1592

As in…actually, I’m not going to use this in a sentence. My MOM reads this blog.


noun \ˈpəl-krə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

Definition: physical comeliness

Origin: Middle English, from Latin pulchritudin-, pulchritudo, from pulchr-, pulcher beautiful

First Known Use: 15th century


As in, Kyle’s comment regarding my pulchritude was perfectly-timed as I was feeling especially vulnerable and un-pulchritudinous today.


verb, transitive \ˈtra-və-stē\

Definition: to make a travesty of, to parody

First Known Use: 1673

As in, she made a travesty of the dictionary and Noah Webster rolled over in his grave.

Dictionary source: Merriam-Webster Online.

I’m fascinated by the idea that language is fluid, that it comes to us from so many different places and times, that it’s constantly being created and re-created. And I’m always excited when I find out there are other meanings for the same word (like travesty!)

By the way, it totally feels like cheating to look words up online. Is that cheating, Mom?

Have a favorite word you’ve learned recently?

love, elizabeth


MeghanSara said...

I love learning the origins of words! My parents used to make us do the same thing. Now, when I'm unsure, I Google "______ definition". Still a nerd. I have to know what that word means!

Janet @ Made For This said...

No, looking up a word online is NOT cheating because I do it. So it isn't cheating. Hey, a dictionary is a dictionary.

Nikskie said...

i used to read reader's digest on the vocab rubric and almost always i'm 98% doesn't know the words.

Alesha said...

I love the dictionary and learning new words too! Check out my new link party (Letters of my Life) to see new words I am learning! =)
Alesha <3

Mrs. Pancakes said...

What a fun post...one of the things I want
To introduce to baby Pancakes is this exact concept
Of finding
Out and learning new and interesting words. I've actually heard of
Pulchritude before...probably read too many Bronte and Austin!! Loved learning new worlds today thanks!

Jenni@Story of My Life said...

You crack me up, Elizabeth! Thanks for teaching me some new words today! :P

PS - You look exactly like your mom in that pic!

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