It is safe to say that sometimes I think I am more clever than I actually am. As an example of this, I will point to a few entries I wrote last year (see here: https://twynne105.wordpress.com/2009/06/15/word-of-the-day/; and here: https://twynne105.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/really-merriam-webster/) about Merriam Webster’s Word of the Day email service, where they send you a word and its meaning every day. My intention in signing up for the service was to learn new and snotty “big” words that I could use to impress people, so I was disappointed when a lot of the words coming through were ones that most people already know. What the hell?!
Well, what I have since learned to appreciate – if not look forward to like a big fat nerd – are the parts of the email that explain the origins of each Word of the Day. The word “waif” is of Anglo-French origin? And it means “a stray person or animal”? And the current meaning of ‘a really skinny person’ didn’t come to be until the 1980’s, and isn’t officially acknowledged by the dictionary? Fascinating! My other favorite is the word “tantalize” – we all know the meaning, but did you know that its origins are in Greek mythology? The King Tantalus pissed off the gods, and was condemned for eternity to remain hungry and thirsty while being surrounded by food and water he could never touch. So cool! (word origin-wise, of course; that really sucked for him)
I take pride in being the type of person who can gracefully admit when I am wrong. So, Merriam Webster, my bad. Totally sorry about bagging on the WOTD thing. Me and my big mouth are quiet now (about this, at least).