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November 09, 2010

Save The Words! "Snollygoster"? "Hiulcity"?

You've heard of all kinds of movements and causes to save the whales - or the seals - or the frogs. Even Bees. But what about words?

Did it ever occur to you that some words might need saving?

How about the word "tragimatopolist?

Don't you like how that word flows so smoothly over your tongue?

And it's useful too! What other word would you use to describe...

...a seller of sweets?

Or how about "hiulcity"? It just means a cleft or opening. But wouldn't your friends be amazed to hear such a word from you in casual conversation?

Or what if you called someone a "snollygoster"? Yes, it is an English word, and it means a person without principle - particularly in the political arena. Here in the USA, I can't imagine how we can do without that word in the coming year.

Yes, I admit to being a total word nerd, and I have found my true cause. There are words that must be saved - and words are saved only one way - and that is by being used.

Yes, you can be the first one among your friends to use these - or many other words.

You can see a seemingly endless list at - http://www.savethewords.org/.

At the top of the screen, you can find several pull-down menu options including a word a day email list or the adopt a word menu which allows you to scroll through words and pick a favorite to adopt and use.

They even have a store where you can buy a T-shirt with your word choice across the front.

This project is sponsored by the people that put together the Oxford English Dictionary. These are true historic word nerds!

After all, wouldn't you want to be the first to use the word "palintocy"? No, it doesn't have anything to do with Sarah Palin, it's a noun meaning the interest owed on a loan.

Reviving perfectly useful words won't cost you anything, and who knows? You just might find just the right word for that odd feeling you have right after you ate something you shouldn't have.

Let us know what it is about English that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf prefers international and independent films, foods he can't pronounce, music no one else has heard of and riding his bicycle in foreign cities. Morf is currently a radio host (tacoma.fm) and a newspaper columnist http://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/columnists/morf_morford/.

Posted by mmorf at November 9, 2010 10:48 PM

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