It’s Wednesday, and while you may eagerly await the word of the day, I must preface my post with a prologue.
On Monday, Anu Garg — the word master extraordinaire and creator of Wordsmith.org — explained his process in finding the word of the day:
I like to say that words come to me. “Pick me!” “Pick me!” They raise their hands, eager to go out, be widely known in the language, and find a place on people’s tongues.
From time to time I scour dictionaries for words, to seek out more obscure ones. When I stumble upon an interesting word, I feel as excited as a paleontologist might feel on finding a fossil, or a geologist on discovering a new form of rock.
I appreciate learning new words, yes. But I liken the “finding a fossil” kind of excitement to that moment I slip my hand into my winter coat pocket for the first time in the season and pull out a five dollar bill from last season. Still, this week’s theme on Wordsmith.org caught my writer’s attention and brought a little skip to my step: words about words.
Monday, rhopalic: adjective. having each successive word longer by a letter or syllable.
Yesterday, periphrastic: adjective. using a roundabout form of expression: wordy.
Today, epanorthosis: noun. immediate rephrasing of something said in order to correct it or make it stronger.
This week, along with his enticing theme, Anu Garg offers a contest. You can even win prizes, like the boardgame WildWords, the antithesis of Scrabble. Any game that claims itself to be opposite of Scrabble, and to lift losers out of the Scrabble gutter, is a sigh-of-relief miracle for people like me who (under pressure) can only think of four letter words not allowed in a dignified game of wooden-tiled crosswords.
But, back to the words at hand. This week’s gems are not only fun to learn but also challenging to use in a blog entry. Though, with my periphrastic post so far, I’ve at least succeeded in incorporating one epanorthosis.
But rhopalic stumps me. As tiles spread across wooden Scrabble structures obligate undeviating intimidation, the word haunts me. And, I hear again my repeat concession muttered after almost every turn during my last game of Scrabble.
“I got nothin’.”