The English language is one of the most difficult on earth. I’ve heard it said and here is why: Well over 200,000 words in “common” usage, 20 – 25,000 estimated used by educated individuals.
Many of our “American English” words are combinations of words, derivations from other languages and underived foreign words. Think of the many types of bread you see every week in your local grocery. Baguettes, bruschetta, challah, tortilla, pita. . .and so many more. Because of the ethnic mix of races who call the USA their home, these have all been incorporated into our American English.
So how many words do you use in a given day? I admit my vocabulary is very limited. So I keep two books on my desk for reference, along with dictionaries and a thesaurus. (1) The Big Book of Words You Should Know, and (2) Endangered Words – A Collection of Rare Gems for Book Lovers. I read excerpts from these books from time to time, just to keep my mind working in a good direction. If you’re a word geek like me, you’d love these two books as well.
One of my favorite words found in the rare words collection, is desipience: relaxed dallying in enjoyment of foolish trifles, according to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. Derived from the Latin desipientia and formed from desipere, “to be foolish.” The word was found in use in the 17th century. These and other interesting facts fill this book.
Sometimes I think I understand and know the meanings of specific words. But when I’m put on the spot, I can’t tell you without looking them up. And I have occasionally used a wrong word and been corrected by someone. So I’m not perfect, not by a long shot. It’s never as funny as when Agent David blunders on NCIS. But I do try.
What’s your favorite word? Drop me a line here and let me know. Also include the meaning, if you will. Happy Holidays!