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.
ec·dys·i·astnoun \ek-ˈdi-zē-ˌast, -zē-əst\
Origin: Greek ekdysīs
First Known Use: 1940As in, ‘Hey, aren’t you glad I’m getting my PhD so I can learn words like ‘ecdysiast’?
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: 1592As in…actually, I’m not going to use this in a sentence. My MOM reads this blog.
pul·chri·tudenoun \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.
trav·es·tyverb, transitive \ˈtra-və-stē\
Definition: to make a travesty of, to parody
First Known Use: 1673As 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?