Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Word Nerdiversary!

Image courtesy Daily Clip Art

It's been a YEAR since I started doing Word Nerd Wednesday!

So far I have personally had a ball talking about some of my personal favorite topics, whether it's been pet peeves on holiday gift cards, Grimm's Law, or when to use parentheses versus brackets and italics versus quote marks. (Those last two posts are ones Googlers regularly land on. Never expected that.)

Technically, Word Nerd Wednesday's anniversary is November 26th, so tomorrow is the anniversary, but tomorrow isn't a Wednesday, so we're cheating by celebrating today. (Sue me.) Let's just say the party is a day early, a bit of pre-Thanksgiving joy.

The celebration will have TWO PARTS:

FIRST: I'm going to share three fun words that have some history for me dating back to my teens.

SECOND: we have a giveaway. This one requires nothing but a comment to enter. No Tweeting, Facebooking, blogging, or anything else. Just leave a comment so I know you want it. This time it's my way of saying thanks for hanging out with the nerd side of me each Wednesday!

First, the three words:

xanthic: Of or pertaining to yellow.
I have no idea why my bestest teen bud (and future bride's maid) J.J.-Panda and I latched onto this one, but in high school, it became our catch-all word for anything we loved. If we liked something, it was xanthic. If it passed muster, it was xanthic. It was such a random word, but it was lots of fun, especially since no one else knew what the heck it meant. (I'm pretty sure she's the one who taught it to me. I wasn't nearly that creative.)

The technical definition is more along the lines of "certain compounds that produce substances of a yellow color," but we liked our simple definition better.

plethora: Over-fullness in any respect; a superabundance, an excess.
We loved using this one. We used to drop notes in one another's locker on a regular basis, and I'd guess that 90% of them included plethora in some context. (I'm sure a good 75% included xanthic.)

melancholy: Depressed, sad, gloomy.
This one has more of a story behind it. I was a huge L. M. Montgomery fan (okay, I still am), so I knew full well what melancholy meant, since LMM used the word a lot. But I'd never heard it spoken.

It wasn't until my 9th grade honors English teacher, Miss Jarmon, had the class taking turns reading a short story aloud that I heard it for the first time . . . about two students in front of me. The girl who said it correctly ended up as our valedictorian.

The word is pronounced roughly (since I don't really have the right symbols here): meh-lun-KAH-lee

I was mentally saying it as: meh-LAN-kuh-lee

Sooooo glad it wasn't me reading it aloud. Katie H. saved my bacon.

I thought it appropriate to give away a copy of There, Their, They're: A No-Tears Guide to Grammar from the Word Nerd on Word Nerd Wednesday's Nerdiversary.

To win, simply drop a comment below so I know you'd like it. (Or, if you win and already own a copy, you can have it shipped to a friend. Consider it a Christmas gift!)

I'll pick a winner NEXT Word Nerd Wednesday.

This isn't a requirement, but I might be fun if, in your comment, you mention a word that impacted you in some way like xanthic, plethora, and melancholy impacted me.

It'll count toward your giveaway entry, and we'll all get an extra treat to boot!

Good luck!

(Have a xanthic Thanksgiving. May you enjoy a plethora of food and never for a moment feel melancholy.)


Kristina P. said...

Congrats! I use plethora and melancholy, but not xanthic.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Amanda D said...

Now the only words I can think of are xanthic, plethora and melancholy.

I'm thinking 'happy' is a pretty good word for this time of year. And 'homesick' is how I'm feeling tonight.

Thanks for the chance to win!

Kaylynn said...

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

* said...

Xanthic is a new word to me. I love learning new words. I had a editor-guy-boss once when I worked at a publishing company, who used Big Words all the time. It impressed me. He was hip and erudite, too. That also impressed me.

So my word is erudite. And lucid. I really like lucid. I like both those words. They are fun to use and stuff. The end.

Teri said...

My husband uses a quote quite frequently, "Why use a big word when you can use a diminutive one." I'm not sure who to attribute it to.....

I love the word plethora. I use it in RS lessons and people look at me oddly, like I've just burst into another language.

Favorite word... evocative. Borders on erotic and people think think I'm saying something naughty. Yep, I live around a number of literary challenged people.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing all your wisdom with us. I have a copy of your book but would love another one for a gift. Happy Anniversary!

Cheri Chesley said...

I guess I'm too tired to be original, but I like the word lucid as well. Except I'm going to use a variation: I aspire to lucidity. :)

How's this? If I win and I finally FIND my copy of your book, I'll give the one I win away as a gift. I'm seriously tempted to tear the house inside out. I have looked EVERYWHERE (except, of course, where my book is...sigh)

Lara Neves said...

Plethora was definitely one I used a LOT in high school. Running joke in the drama department.

I think maybe I use epiphany a lot. I don't know! Now I can't think of words.

So, if xanthic means what you say, does xanthosis mean the process of turning yellow? That word is used on Akeelah and the Bee (my girls love that movie), but I didn't know what it meant. Along with plenty of other words in the spelling bee. ;)

And don't enter me in the drawing...I've got one! :D

Cranberryfries said...

Happy Nerdiversary!! I guess it'd be obvious that you'd remember words from back when. I do too. My dad always helped me study vocab words for my sophomore English class. In order to remember them I'd use mind tricks. Still to this day when I hear some of those words I'll remember the silly things I'd associate to remember them.

Very appropriate giveaway :)

Jordan said...

You know, I would say that you had a plethora of sweaters.

(Not you, personally, Annette.)

At least you didn't think it was me lan CHOL y

Meggen said...

Remember another word we used a lot in high school, Annette, that really isn't a word, but definitely had a meaning---YAR!!!!!!!!!!!! So glad that is not a word in my vocabulary anymore! But, at the time it just seemed so natural sometimes.

Happy Mom said...

I WANT your book!!!

My only memory of a word that has had an impact on me: In my 7th grade English class our teacher told us that he'd bring treats if we could find every mistake in the sentence he wrote on the board. I was the only one who knew that snuck wasn't a word (the proper word was sneaked). He had to bring treats for the first time, and I was the hero of the day. (BTW, snuck has since become an acceptable word, but it ticks me off when I hear it used, because I don't think it should be!)

amelia said...

Pick me!

I'm going to say monumental. That's one I've used since my youth.

Tiffany said...

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

Erin said...

Happy Nerdiversary!

I remember when I was very young (okay, 9) learning what the word havoc meant. Then I learned the term "wreak havoc" and I just loved the way it rolled off of my tongue.

InkMom said...

I want it!

I have several upcoming posts (and by upcoming, I mean composed in my head only) eah inspired by a single word. I love words!

Elizabeth Morgan said...

I hope you had a plethera of food yesterday. I love your word nerd wednesdays they are so much fun to read and learn more.

wendy said...

xanthic- never heard of it.
I KNOW I use parenthesis, quotes, dots and a million (plethora) other mistakes in my writing. But I am not really TRYING to be that correct.
but I certainly could make some improvements there eh.
words can be cool
you are one smart cookie

Don said...

Penultimate and it's predecessor antepenultimate were our go-to words during high school. I even fronted a lip-sync troupe called Canard and the Antepenultimates. Yes, we nouned an adjective - it's what high schoolers do.

I love watching/reading something British and having these words show up. We Americans do okay with ultimate, but we need to make better use of the other two.

CountessLaurie said...

I don't have a current favorite word, but susquepedalian pomposity was a favorite in high school. I still through it out here every now and then.

I needed your book just the other day. Can't remember why now, but I knew then I was probably screwing up.

Amber Lynae said...

I have friends who would love a copy of your book, I already have one. A word that I loved to use was paramount. Of course at that age I thought everything was paramount, in my house it was drama, drama, drama.

Tobi said...

My favorite big brain word is precipice! It means a very steep place or a dangerous situation. I love it because it's such a fun word to say and my YOUNGER sister taught it to me. It just conjures some of my favorite memories from when I was a teen.

Heffalump said...

Happy Nerdiversary!

Danielle said...

Oh I so need this book! I am terrible at grammar!

Krista said...

I would love your book, and your blog is so great. We had so many words in high school, most of them from Monty Python, Princess Bride,Strange Brew,and SNL. My husband grew up somewhere else and he used the same words.


Very profound.

One my friends (boys) made up: lober. The act of gently rubbing the soft, fleshy part of the ear between the first knuckles of the first to fingers, in greeting. And you have to say it as you do it. As in, "Lober!" (rub rub)

Melanie Jacobson said...

I already have the copy so I don't need one! But I had to laugh at this post because last night we were watching The Three Amigos on the way home from our trip and there's this whole little riff about the word plethora. Thanks for another giggle.

Julie Belnap said...

For me, The word 'Pokako' played a large role.

Even though Pokako is a made up word, it happened when I accidentally called Potatoes Pokakos, so the Pokako was born.

By the way, its pronounced po-KAY-ko, not po-KA-ko, which is what it looks like when typed. it was also a nickname I gave a guy I liked, which meant he was 'short and sweet, like a sweet Pokako!' Love can do odd things to someone.

An Ordinary Mom said...

I am late to the party, but Happy Word Neriversary! I ADORE this column you have on your blog. In fact I adore all your writing.

And those three words you share are indeed great words!


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