A-B-C is easy as 1-2-3

I know many abecedarians. I first thought of the little ones I know who just graduated from Kindergarten and those getting ready to go in the fall, seeing that according to Dictionary.com, the first definition of abecedarian, today’s Word of the Day, is “a person who is learning the letters of the alphabet.” How appropriate that it is pronounced ey-bee-see-DAIR-ee-uhn, or a-b-c-darian.

It also means “a beginner in any field of learning,” and I know a few of those who are grown-ups. Two of my friends are learning a new business and another two went back to school for a degree, there’s four off the top of my head. I bet if I thought about it long enough, I could come up with an example for all of my friends.Very broad examples, and perhaps not technically on point, like I guess you could say I am a beginner in the field of blogging every day. I’m also new at driving a small car, and after driving high-up for the past eighteen years in a van, an SUV, and then a truck, a small car certainly feels like learning a new field!

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To Meddle is to Nettle

To meddle is to nettle – I think so anyway. That is because it annoys me when people meddle. Getting into other people’s business uninvited is a no-no, for those of you who may not know. So, meddling causes nettling, which is to irritate, annoy or provoke. It is also today’s Word of the Day on Dictionary.com.

Killing Words

Most people have heard of homicide, but what about the word verbicide? My first thought upon seeing this Word of the Day was that just as Homo, as in Homo sapiens, is a human, verb is a word. In other words, just as homicide means killing another person, verbicide is the killing of a word. Sort of.

Oliver Wendell Holmes compared homicide and verbicide in The Atlantic Monthly in 1857, saying that life and language are both sacred. “That is,” he wrote, “violent treatment of a word with fatal results to its legitimate meaning, which is its life – are alike forbidden.” According to the definition by Dictionary.com, the distortion or depreciation of the meaning of such word must be done willfully for it to be considered verbicide. Not like when my husband (soon-to-be then) asked my mom who “Carte Blanche” was when she informed him that she had (her, it) to choose the flowers for our wedding. No, he didn’t commit verbicide that day, he had just never heard of “carte blanche” before. He’s likely to never forget what it means now, over twenty years later it is still one of my favorite wedding stories. Thankfully, he’s a good sport.

I was going to say that the next time you think about deliberately changing the meaning of a word by the way you use it, keep in mind that it’s verbicide and you might decide against it. However, upon second thought of this statement, I wonder about using a pun. Perhaps I’ll look further into the differences tomorrow, if there are any, but until then I’m done!

Adret (a-DREY) is the word today

Having never lived on a mountain, or anywhere close to a mountain, I can not say whether or not I would find it desirable. I can tell you that I found it absolutely horrifying when we drove up a mountain in North Carolina, and it was just as frightening going back down. We were visiting my husband’s cousin a few years ago, a beautiful place, but a little too steep for me and my anxiety. My poor husband.

Here’s a view while driving (picture taken by me, the passenger): NC1

Apparently, when talking mountains, there is a shady side and there is a side that receives direct sunlight. As one might expect, the shadier side is usually rocky and steep while the sunny side is more fertile. This side, the sunny side, is called an adret, pronounced a-DREY, and is Dictionary.com‘s Word of the Day. If I ever had to live on a mountain, I would say, “Okay, just make sure I’m on the adret!”

NC2

Vain People or Vane People?

You’re so vain, you probably think this blog is about you… Oops, wait a minute – back up. Sorry, wrong vain. I meant to say – You’re so vane, no one can ever count on you, and of course I am talking to those who change their minds with the wind. Yep, according to Dictionary.com, today’s Word of the Day, vane, refers to people as well as a weather vane and six other items. If you didn’t know that, then you have learned something new today!

Verb – to grope.

My husband has a grabbling problem. Thankfully it is only with me, and also the reason why I’m not going to talk about it. It’s not a bad thing, but being a family channel here, subjects of that nature are off-limits. However, it is the only thing I can think of for the word grabble. And that’s all you get from me about today’s Word of the Day, brought to you by Dictionary.com.

Word up – One way to win a conversation

“Appealing to one’s prejudices, emotions, or special interests rather than to one’s intellect or reason,” is the definition of today’s Word of the Day by Dictionary.com… do you know what it is? The second definition of this adjective is “attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering his argument,” and no, the answer is not politician. Besides, that would be a noun. We are looking for the adjective that describes the politician. The word we are looking for today is ad hominem.

John Locke is quoted using this word in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding from 1960. Locke writes, “…a third way is to press a man with consequences drawn from his own principles or concessions. This is already known under the name argumentum ad hominem.” This quote also comes from Dictionary.com and I can only guess what he means about a third way to… what? Appeal to the man’s prejudices and emotions or attack his character? I guess either one would work.

So there you have it. Sometimes focusing on the fluff and not the real stuff is the only way out of a conversation. For example, if your neighbor can’t stop talking about what a great experience going to a NASCAR race is, and won’t stop trying to talk you into going, an ad hominem remark might work. If he doesn’t want you to know how redneck he really is, then saying something such as, “Ya, I could arrange a church field-trip and change the stereotype of NASCAR fans around the world,” just might do the trick.