Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Word Nerd and Proud of It

I am a professed Word Nerd. I collect words (lexophile) study them (etymologist), mispronounce them (cacoepy), and read about them (Book Booster). Maybe my mom propped up my crib with an old dictionary, because no one else in my family shows this proclivity.

My love for words overflows into all facets of my life. As a kid, other kids would roll their eyes at my vocabulary, and teachers would be either amused or irritated at me knowing what the vocabulary word meant without any prompting. “Show off” was sometimes bantered about when I was around. Not really. Misunderstood for my zeal of learning vocabulary, yes, that would be better.

Zoom up to my young mothering years (an empty nester now–still mothering, but from a defined distance). I guess I nearly ruined my children’s lives by trying to instill the love of words into their little bodies. “No one talks like us, Mom!” And that was a bad thing? The payoff came much later, when recently the youngest progeny phoned to say the boss folk liked how well he could express himself in company meetings. Ah–delayed gratification.

As a teacher, I legitimately get to introduce vocabulary to students and interject my enthusiasm for increasing word strength and even test them on what the words they need to know for life and  for state required assessments and get paid for it (I just committed a polysyndeton with all those conjunctions–great word).

Lately, as a blogger, I get more attuned to posts about words dropping my way. For instance, I found this gem in my box not too long ago, even though it’s a 2012 post, it’s still relevant to me.  It’s all about Word Hacking, that delicious art of creating new words. There is all sorts of action and exercise in Word Hacking. There’s combining, mash ups, and verbalizing, and nouning. One could seriously lose calories by inventing new words. Shakespeare must have been in stellar shape with all his inventiveness. Doesn’t this look ever so fun? Check out the full blog post

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6 thoughts on “Word Nerd and Proud of It

  1. One of my favourite words is ‘pauciloquent’. It means “That uses few words in speech or conversation; laconic.” I subscribe to the OED word of the day. It’s always my favourite daily email.

  2. “No one talks like us, Mom!” And that was a bad thing?

    That cracks me up.

    I’m a word nerd too. I had my own game I liked to play with my parents and they thought I was such a cute weirdo. I played “Dictionary.” I was constantly making them give me words to look up, then I would see how fast I could do it. 🙂

    • Seems like you turned out to be a citizen of merit. Yay for Dictionary. My son bragged on his new girlfriend’s ability to play Scrabble and outscore him. “You’d like her, Mom. She rocks at Scrabble.” I guess that’s the big test in our family.

  3. I often use “ification”.

    When, for example, a rewrite underwhelms me, I say that my manuscript has undergone The Crapification Process.

    • Yes, “ification” does have its possibilities–I suggest “reburishication” for the revising process as my words undergo remodeling I must move stuff around, and replace the old with the new.

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