Apr 18, 2008

Sonatina learns a new word

"We would all expect an earthquake to be called a trembler, but what is this temblor, with no R after the T and ending on -or? Today's Good Word is the Spanish word for "earthquake" pure and simple—no embellishments or refinements. Because it was borrowed quite recently, it has no family of related words. It is a lexical orphan."

"If you have too many fair-weather friends and want to separate them from the real ones, here is a very Good Word to work with. Say something like, "I love California but wouldn't want to live there because of the temblors." Most of your friends will jump to correct you, "I think you mean 'tremblers', don't you?" But you will have a copy of today's Good Word in your pocket to prove that you are correct. Only your true friends will talk to you after this."

from alphadictionary

I love the sentence in the first part, "it is a lexical orphan". It conjures up this tragic image of a small defenseless word trudging down the road, the grief for its lost mother language forming a tear in its i. The second part just made me laugh. My friends friend already knows I read the dictionary for fun.

1 comment:

Aethelflaed said...

I've taken to keeping a dictionary handy whenever I read anything, and even look up words that I really do know, just not precisely enough. I'm such a geek.