Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What Is That Word?

I learned a new word this week. Let's see--I'll use it in a sentence. Shades of fourth grade here. "I try very hard not to be uxorious, since I believe man needs to be his own man, even after marriage. There. Just better not let my wife Wendy read this.

Uxorious means excessively submissive to a wife.

Though I enjoy writing, I sometimes have trouble finding the precise word. I admire those people who have an extensive vocabulary. But I don't even know what to call them. There has to be a word. It's not verbose (given to wordiness) or articulate (able to speak clearly). There has to be a word for someone who knows a lot of words. I just don't know what it is.

It's like Steve Martin said in one of his comedy routines: "Some people have a way with words and some people, uh, not have way."

I have just enough vocabulary to get me by. For example, Good Friday of this week is a day of fast and abstinence for us Catholics. I know that abstinence has to do with portioning out meals and not snacking. Wendy tried to tell me that abstinence meant something else. I could have gone along with her thinking but I don't want to be uxorious. Boo-yeah--used it again!

But, darn, how do you describe somebody with an extensive vocabulary? Hmmmm. Time for The Googler (Cue superhero music). Let me search the exact phrase "having an extensive vocabulary."

Wow, over 74,000 hits. Let's see . . . Free extensive vocabulary download . . . How to build an Extraordinary Vocabulary Tonight (may check that out later) . . . Improving Your Vocabulary for the ASVAB - For Dummies (checked and ASVAB is Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Batteries) . . . What's a word that means "knowing a lot of words?"

That's it!! The Googler shoots, he scores. I click on that link. Betsy14201 says the answer to that question is erudite, word maven, vocabulist, logophile. Is that right? Merriam Webster says erudite means "learned", logophile means "lover of words", vocabulist is somebody who creates a vocabulary, and word maven is two words. I just want one.

Hea, maybe I could create the word myself. OK, from now on, a person who has an extensive vocabulary will be called a "wordaloter." Now all I need to do is file a patent. I mean a copyright. No, that's not right either. What do they call it when you're proposing a new word for the dictionary?




Blogger Jan said...

some legal documents refer to the wife as Big Dave et ux.

Belittling? I'd say so.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Yoga in Mirrormont said...

As an erudite linguaphile and sesquipedalian who teaches jejune abecedarians to love language through the reading of the Great Books, I feel qualified to report that a person who creates new words is a neologist. The longest word ever created is Shakespeare's honorificabilitudinitatibus, from Love's Labour's Lost.

Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, and Jane Austen were neologists.

After serving myself a slice of avocado from a runcible spoon (Lear) at a dinner party (Austen) in honor of the MSU SPARTANS, I could only chortle (Carroll) at the thought of the frabjous (Carroll) SPARTANS being in the Final Four yet again.

Look it up in your Funk & Wagnalls!

10:30 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

JAN--Didn't know that. I always thought our legal system to be a bit archaic though, so I'm not surprised.

BONNIE--Can't find linguaphile in my on-line Merriam-Websters (maybe you're practicing a little neology yourself) but I know you like big words so I'm not surprised you'd call yourself a sesquipedalian.

Learned about chortle and Carroll this past week on Jeopardy. Maybe you should apply to be a contestant.

If you're up on current events too, maybe you heard that Ann Arbor was named by Forbes as the top college sports town in America. So our teams may not be doing as well, but we're still number one. Boo-yeah!

11:55 AM  
Blogger TechnoBabe said...


12:06 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Hi Dave...every so often I pick out a word or words and their meanings from the dictionary and write them up on a door near my computer and then ponder upon them. Sometimes when reading a book, I will also pick words I'm not familiar with and write them into a notebook beside my bed so I can check them out later. It's fun finding (and using) new words where appropriate.

Happy Easter!

3:02 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

I like the logophile myself. vocabophile is a bit over the top for me.

I love words, so I would like to thank you for adding the uxorious to my list.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo Big D, Dis Blog is da bomb. You gots to be the top blogger for shizzle my nizzle. I got to axe you one Q...Where did you learn all those mega G words?...You are most def and little bit fubar. Keep goin' ballz out, know what I mean.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

TECHNOBABE--Dictoright. I like it.

LEE--I try to do that too. I think I read that even in your golden years, you can increase your vocabulary.

CARINE--Most journalists have to love words. It's a professional requirement.

ANONYMOUS--Is this the Enforcer? Can't be my dad. Well, I can hip-hop, be-bop, dance till ya drop, and yo yo, make a wicked cup of cocoa.

3:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bddad here, no it wasn't me who wrote that,I am at a loss for words here, in fact it looks like a diff. language to me.

6:30 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

DAD--Maybe it was the other Vic then. Vic's in a dilemma. If his fav Spartans win this weekend, he loses his chance for money in his NCAA tournament challenge. He'd probably see it as a win-win situation though.

3:42 AM  
Anonymous CAROLDEE said...


12:54 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ Thanks for the new word --
uxorious. obviously neither of my 2 husbands were uxorious - although I
had some good years with both.
Doesn't Maryann read your blog?
I am interested to hear what a
pierogi casserole is? I must Google it - new to me.
I do not want to live to be 90, but
it's great your BIL s father is doing so well at his age. A stent is eaasier to do than an operation for an aneurysm one. I hear it's huge. Take care, Cheers, Merle.
Hope you are having a great Easter

11:07 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

I was a bit worried by your opening remark Dave "I learned a new word today" had this been followed by "I hit my thumb with a hammer" I had decided to stop reading immediately.
Happy Easter.

7:03 PM  

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