The Compulsive Copyeditor

September 4, 2009

What An Awesome Idea!

Filed under: vocabulary — amba12 @ 3:39 pm

Each year hundreds of words are dropped from the English language.

Old words, wise words, hard-working words. . . .

Today, everything we write is communicated by only 7,000 words.  [Yikes!!]

You can change all that.  Help save the words!

Specifically, save them by adopting them.  You can adopt as many as you want; you will then have brought them back to life, because they’ll be living in the household of your vocabulary and you won’t be able to resist using them, even showing them off.  Maybe you can even leave them to someone in your will, so they don’t die with you.

BRILLIANT idea — and from guess who(m):  Oxford Dictionaries, the Burke’s Peerage of all words, even those in the potter’s fields.  Beautifully designed website, too — though the flash (which works like a charm) demands Gutenberg-era patience while it loads.  It’s worth the wait.

You could adopt “prandicle,” a small meal (well, no you couldn’t — it’s mine now), or “sparsile,” a lonely star not included in any constellation.  (Got that one too.  Go find your own — and tell me what it is.)  Hundreds, thousands of words are right there on the homepage (that’s what takes so long to load), each graced with its own personality of script or typeface, scanned by a moving frame that allows you to click at random or pick one, meet it face to face, and learn its meaning.  Adopting = addictive!  You get a certificate of adoption, on which you vow to use your word, and you can order a T-shirt emblazoned with it.  You will soon be the Mia Farrow, the Madonna, the Angelina Jolie of orphaned words!  And the Imelda Marcos of T-shirts!

When I have more time I’ll research and link to the history of this project, which must be a joy to behold.

In the words of Save the Words:  “Word up!  Use them before we lose them!”

Hat tip:  writer niece, @rachmonroe

(A small p.s.:  Save the Words has a Word-a-Day feature.  This should be taken in addition to, not instead of, the classic A Word A Day.  Anu Garg’s site is simple and low-tech, but be not seduced by sizzle alone.  It’s finally the words that count, and what they do inside your head that’s the first and best magic technology.)


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