Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Word Nerd: Fall CleanUp

I’m better with fall cleaning than spring cleaning. Once I sense blue skies and a bit of warmth I head outside. In fall, when the weather begins to fade I get the urge to tidy the abode, knowing I will be stuck inside for 4-5 months. If I were a squirrel I would be tossing out the old acorn shells.

So it is with my word collection file. It needs tending. Watch for some oldies, but goodies as they fly out the doorway.

Erudite gibberish still sounds cool

Lorem ipsum: have you come across this phrase accompanied by other Latin-sounding words? Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam hendrerit nisi sed sollicitudin pellentesque. While it seems as if something meaningful is being said it is actually typesetter gibberish. Google translate is at a loss for words.

Earliest words

Earliest Words

According to these are among the earliest words in spoken language. I collected these ages ago and it is time to release them:

We: plural of the first person “I” it makes sense to include everyone else. It is derived from Old English and is connected to Dutch and German.

Black: lacking hue and brightness; absorbing light without reflecting any of the rays composing it,” this word also describes “the absence of color.”

Mother: this one has deep emotional roots in all languages. Mother was mōdor in Old English, mater in Latin, and mḗtēr in Greek.

Give: in order to function as a community the act of sharing is the basis of this word. Coming from the Old English gefan, give is related to the Old Norse gefa, the Dutch geven, the German geben, and the Gothic giban.

Man/Woman: a fairly obvious designation. Originally, man could refer to a person, regardless of their gender, with the words wer specifically referring to “a male” and wīf, “a female.”

Fire: people need light and warmth. The word developed from the Old English fȳr.

Hand: need this to do things, like make a fire. Old English: hand, also sometimes spelled hond. It’s related to the Dutch hand and German Hand.

Hear: needed for communication. Developed from the the Old English heran and hieran.

Spit: makes sense to have a word that imitates the action. A critique on cooking too closely with fire?

Old: aging is part of life. Developed from the Old English eald and ald.

This: such a handy pronoun! Developed from the Old English thes.

Other Acorns of Note.

These are words that at the time of collection (some more than a year old), but just aren’t as shiny as they once were. Maybe they appeal to you:

Panglossian: extreme optimism in the face of adversity.

Versal: universal or whole.

Mammock: to break, tear, or cut into fragments; shred.

Obnubilate: obscure, cloud over.

Deliquesce: to melt away.

Minatory: menacing; threatening.

Penumbral: being shadowy or indefinite.

Tantivy: full gallop

Toxophilite: an archer.

That’s better. I now have room for more storage. Find any words you plan on storing up for another day?

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4 thoughts on “Word Nerd: Fall CleanUp

  1. In Old English “We” is also what one would say as they slid down a hill.

  2. Huh! I always wondered about the “lorem ipsum” stuff!

    And now I’m off to look for an excuse to say “panglossian” in general conversation.

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