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A Boy, A Girl, and The Marine Corps: A Love Triangle: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

A Boy, A Girl, and The Marine Corps: A Love Triangle

"I cast my lot with a Marine and where he was, was home to me." ~ Anonymous.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

I have started this new trend in my life of looking up words in the dictionary.

It started a few weeks ago while I was reading the Twilight series... Yes, I too, as intellectual as my pursuits normally are, have been sucked into the Twilight universe. (Much to my chagrin) Surprisingly, she uses a number of words that I do not know.

I do not claim to have a huge vocabulary, but I can hold my own while talking with my friend who is going to school to be a librarian. She, by nature of her chosen career, has a large vocabulary and I'd like to think that I'm not far behind her. But I was caught of guard by the handful of $5 words in the Twilight series. I mean, they are teenybopper books. But I guess I like that she is trying to expand the minds of teenagers, even if it is with handsome vampires.

So I began to look up these words. Most, if not all of them, I can guess the meaning with context, but I want to have a concrete understanding of what I'm reading, so I look them up to be safe. And so began my new obsession.

I am now done with those books and The Year of Living Biblically. He also uses a number of obscure words and has a vocabulary that is too large for his own good. He can't help this of course, being a journalist by trade, but still, why use "teetotaler" when you can say he abstains from alcohol, or simply, he doesn't drink? I will never understand this, though I enjoy it. So I guess I'm a bit of a hypocrite.

But, teetotaler aside, I have begun looking up works I already know. Words that I can use in a sentence. Like arbitrary. I know this word, I use this word, but have you ever looked it up? It has a long list of definitions. We all know that it means "depending on individual discretion and not fixed by law" But there is also, "not restrained or limited in the exercise of power: ruling by absolute authority" and "based on or determined by individual preference or convenience rather than by necessity or the intrinsic nature of something"

Huh?

I find words that I know, but maybe have never really thought about and look them up. It's actually really interesting. Most words have more than one meaning and it's crazy to see what those meanings are, and how to use them.

So this is my new obsession. Looking words up in the dictionary. I don't think it's expanding my vocabulary. I promptly forget much of them as soon as I look them up, but it's interesting none the less. Some, words are so wacky that I have to remember them... Like teetotaler. What a great word, though I can't think of a situation in which I will ever be able to use it in a sentence.

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