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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I am a Word Hunter


I would like to invite you into my trophy room. I suppose all great hunters like me are proud of their captured quarry. I will give you the tour, in a most grandiose way, and share my hunting stories with you so that you can imagine yourself tracking, stalking, and reveling in the thrill of the search and the moment of victory.

I will lead you first to the display in the center of the room. Here, on the page is the word “propinquity”. I happened upon it while reading Lynne Truss’ book, Talk to the Hand. Lured into her pages by my memories of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, I was delighted to discover this elusive adjective. Her descriptive reference to “inappropriately porpinquitous apple-consumption” as an affront to her personal space is an experience I will not soon forget.

To the right of this display you will find a small computer screen, displaying BooMama’s blog, where I found the word “sartorial”. I so enjoy reading BooMama, and was ecstatic when I trapped this happy little word regarding her ever-sophisticated and timely fashion sense. “Sartorial” is a word I have returned to often…repeating it softly, under my breath; savoring the feel of it on my tongue and the sound of it inside my head.

In the corner, under a small lamp, you will find a printed page from my son’s novel-in-progress. He is writing a book about a brave and bad-tempered dwarf in a magical land of elves, halflings and the other creatures that inhabit his dreams. I captured this word while reviewing some of his latest work. If you look closely, you’d find “limn” glowing softly, handwritten on the lined page and shining with brilliance.

I’ve been word-hunting for so long, I cannot remember where many of them were captured; words like “cacophony”, “filigree”, “caveat”, and “pandemonium”. But I keep several of them in an old blue dictionary, worn with age and fingerprints, its binding repaired with clear packing tape. This dictionary, The Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary (©1977) has been my treasured companion since I was a young child.


It sits on my mother’s desk and bears the marks of three generations of word hunting, exploration and discovery. In between a couple of pages near the back is a familiar, dark residue, left over from a precious pressed rose. As a grade-school and high-school student, this is the dictionary I used for vocabulary homework, and essay writing. With a Guide to Better Usage, a History of the English Language, a collection of Quotations and three Foreign Language Dictionaries, it even helped me distinguish between “pero” and “perro” for my Spanish homework.

As far back as I can remember, and as recently as this last weekend, Mom, my children and I pulled out this dictionary to clear up whether to use “anxious” or “eager”, and to define the word “succubus”. The old blue dictionary has always been a wealth of words that I dearly love.

I hunt for words in many different habitats. I read the online version of the Word Detective and receive the Miriam Webster and the Dictionary.com Words of the Day on my homepage. But the best hunting ground I’ve found is in the books that line my shelves, those that are stacked about my floor, and call to me from the shelves of my local library. The more I read the more words I discover.

So, if you love language and adventure, I encourage you – become a word-hunter, and start collecting trophies of your own!


This post is part of my 8 Random Things About Me response to Lavender Chick's (and now Shannon’s) tag. Be sure and check back for Random Thing Topic #3 coming soon.

P.S. TAG, Kari You're It! - Share 1 (or 8) random thing(s) about yourself, and turn it (each one) into a blog topic.

6 comments:

Clemntine said...

From one word cognoscente to another, the perspicuity with which you delineate your affinity for all things verbose and loquacious is most ambrosial.

:~D.

Kathleen aka Coffee Mom said...

I like words too and posted about it waaaay back. My mom has the very same dictionary too. It's the one I like to use, even though it's no longer all that current.

Kari said...

I keep a dictionary by my computer, downstairs by my bookshelves, in my scrapbook room...in short, I keep one here, there and everywhere! I love finding a word I don't know. I get a kick out of looking up the meaning and pronunciation. I get an even bigger kick when I see my kids doing it. Now if I could just working on my spelling skills. Or lack thereof. lol
And I accept your challenge (er...I mean TAG). Just give a day or two to get started!

Donetta said...

My paternal Grandmother read the dictionary. I too for a lifetime have admired the well of infinite treasures. With a memory challenge so many have escaped me. It is as if a grand revolt ransacked my mind. I am delighted to see another have such wonder and delight in words. They have great power of life and death.

childlife said...

Tauna -

This post just made me smile, smile, smile! Words like the ones you mentioned are gems to be critically appreciated. They are the sort to be squirreled away and later held aloft to observe how each and every facet catches the light.

I don't usually leave links in comments, but I thought you might find this one amusing:

http://inlifeofachild.blogspot.com/
2007/08/my-biggest-critic-but-i
-love-him-anyway.html)

(Love the dictionary and have one much like it!)

carrie said...

Very Excellent! I homeschool my girls and whenever they ask what a word is...they stop themselves and moan ;) Then I tell them to go get the dictionary!!!!!

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