Words are so valuable and meaningful to me that this year, I have made a practice of collecting them. I keep a list of these newly acquired words that I want to remember, and writing them down helps me store them in my memory bank. When I first made a point of listening for such words on TV and looking for them in the books and articles I read, I realized that writing down the words each week was helping me develop a useful word-collecting habit. What are some of the words I’ve collected?
Escritoire (‘es-krə–twär), which Webster’s tells me is an old term for a writing table or desk, is my favorite word so far this week. I came across it in a Regency-era novel I’ve been reading, and I love both the look and sound of this word, which I’ve been letting bounce around in my mind all week.
Mondegreen is another recent favorite collected word. Webster’s says a mondegreen is “a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung.” For instance, I originally thought the late singer Prince was singing about raspberry meringue until I learned the song was actually about a raspberry beret. That’s a mondegreen. Useful word, isn’t it? (The word origin, according to Webster’s, is “from the mishearing in a Scottish ballad of ‘laid him on the green’ as ‘Lady Mondegreen.’”)
A couple of years ago, I was shocked to learn that there is a word for a simple symbol I’ve used for decades. The word is octothorpe, and you can click here to see one. (Why “octo,” you ask? Count the points in the symbol, and there you’ll have the answer.)
Have you collected any new words lately?