by Raelene Gorlinsky
I'm a sucker for word books. Books that provide the etymology of words or phrases, that list unusual words or funny words. So of course I could not pass up the slim paperback on the sale table at the bookstore this week: 100 Words Every Word Lover Should Know, from the editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries.
It's got words that are in not-really-rare use, but are pretty uncommon for most people. The types of words you may see more frequently in non-fiction writing (whether books or news articles or whatever), less frequently in fiction, and rarely hear spoken. Hey, I figure that's because even if we can spell them, we can't pronounce them.
Try incorporating these into your normal conversations.
Oh, you want to know what they mean? Okay, mix and match - here are the definitions, you figure out which word each goes to.
- a soft rustling or whispering sound
- the ability to "speak in tongues", such as in a trance, religious ecstasy or schizophrenia
- alignment of the sun, moon, and Earth
- nonchalant, blithely unconcerned
- given to the use of long words; having many syllables
- a person who creates crossword puzzles, or an enthusiast of word games
- the characteristic spirit of a time period or generation
- idle chatter, especially if intended to charm or beguile
- an extra or unexpected gift or benefit
- an environment or setting
- a sudden or unexpected change of fortune