vocabularian

I am going to say it loud and say it proud – I am a vocabularian.  I collect words like a philatelist collects stamps, or a lepidopterist collects butterflies, or a 9-year-old boy collects legos.  Occasionally to my great pleasure (and probably to my listener’s great annoyance) I get to drop one of these words into a conversation.  It’s even better when I use it in the right context. : )  Why use a 10 cent word when you can use a 10 dollar word.  Okay, I don’t necessarily believe that last bit, but sometimes I can’t help it.  I’ll use a word and be thinking “That’s brilliant!  That word perfectly describes what I’m trying to say”  My listener is probably thinking, “Ugh!  There she goes again, she thinks she’s such a smarty-pants,  but she’s really just obnoxious!”   Obnoxious perhaps, but I have a love affair with language and all of its nuances.

My newest writing prompt was a list of words to lead me into writing.  I’m too scattered lately to do anything with the list, but it will sit there waiting for me.  In Madeline L’Engle’s book A Circle of Quiet she chooses a word for the summer – Ontology – a word that for her had much to do with creativity and teaching and isness.  Ali Edwards has again offered up her tradition of choosing a word for the year to guide, inspire, open one up to possibility.  I love words too much to limit myself to one, but I feel like the word that’s trying to find me right now has to do with relationships and connection.  Also, I do have a life contract that states that I am a courageous, self-loving, adventurous woman.  What can I say words have power.  They can lift up, encourage, inspire us to more, or they can be weapons; dangerous and barbed.  I want to use my words for the former.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Patricia says:

    I’m with you there, Jackie. Words have incredible power, and we’d all be better off if we could use them (10 cent, 10 dollar, whatever denomination) with abandon but precision. For example, if one used the phrase, oh, I don’t know, “blood libel,” one should know precisely what it means denotatively and connotatively. OK, stepping off the soap box.

  2. My daughter and I discuss this all the time. We both love words and use big ones right along with the puny ones. Neither of us does it to be showy, but to use the exact right word when we need it. We both agreed that a great vocabulary is a phenomenal way to trick people into thinking you are smart. ; )

  3. molly says:

    words do have power! i love them too. i love it especially when my kids drop a ten dollar word. i always praise them for impressing me with their vocabulary. spending a few minutes looking up a word in the dictionary, then scanning the surrounding pages for more interesting words, is one of my favorite things to do 🙂

  4. Leslie says:

    I love words, too! And I love the idea of choosing a word for the year, but I can never decide upon just one. Somehow I think I’d want to change course somewhere in the middle and then feel bad about not sticking to my original choice. Silly, huh?

  5. mcspannar says:

    i know exactly how you are feeling. shame that most of the 14 y.o. i teach english to do not feel the same passion for words and collecting words that i do.

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