I would love to have an Oxford Dictionary vocabulary. If I could just absorb all the words and definitions on those pages surely my writing and speaking skills would be such that people would be in awe of me. Or maybe they'd just look at me and wonder what language I was speaking half of the time, sort of like I do when my husband speaks to me. Oh, just kidding WB. I greatly admire your knowledge of words and their origins.
Seriously though, words can be fascinating. One word has the ability to describe or evoke emotions better than five words put together. It's finding that one word that can be tricky. I've been on a quest for expanding my vocabulary. Not just to know a new word, but to be able to use them correctly, spell them, and understand their history. For instance in yesterday's post I told you about the banister we had made for our stairs. Several of you commented on it, thank you, but you spelled banister with two n's...bannister. I was in a frenzy. Did I spell the word wrong in my post? Why didn't spell check catch it? I am relieved to know that banister and bannister are both correct spellings of the word. Disaster diverted.
My father-in-law, Big Daddy or Dr. Dad as I like to call him, sends us e-mails each day about words. He subscribes to wordsmiths A.word.A.day and graciously passes them on to us. My husband and I share this particular e-mail address so I know it was really intended for his son. And if the truth be told I ignored the first fifty word a day e-mails. Then one day, for kicks, I decided to read one. It is very interesting. For example the word portmanteau means: A word coined by blending two or more parts or A case opening in two parts, used to carry clothes while traveling.
It goes on to tell you it comes from the french word porter (to carry) and manteau(mantel). Then it might give you some history. Originally a portmanteau was a court official who carried the robes of the king.
Interesting stuff. I must admit it is hard for me to remember all these words, but even if just one or two stick I find myself enjoying my new word. WB and Big Daddy on the other hand can remember them all and then have in depth discussions about them. I probably won't ever do that, but that is okay. I'm happy with a little bit of new knowledge each day.
Do you do anything to expand your vocabulary? Do you have a favorite word with an interesting origin or history? Please share, I need help!