What's the Word?
Heterogeneous: consisting of dissimilar or diverse ingredients or constituents; mixed. Synonyms: assorted, eclectic, miscellaneous… Merriam Webster Online Dictionary
Fasten your seatbelts, readers, I’m going to take you on a search for the Word of the Week.
My work at The Pocahontas Times is all about words – how they are spelled, what they mean and how they are used. In my everyday life I am always cognizant, or mindful, of words that define events, activities and even feelings.
“Serendipity,” or finding something you were not expecting, is my constant companion. With that aside – on with the search.
Monday morning started out as usual with my dog, Rut-Roh, watching my every move in hopes that somewhere in my schedule I would find time to take him for a walk on The Greenbrier River Trail. As I looked into his pleading eyes and observed his lethargic behavior, the advice of a dog trainer came to my mind.
“If you don’t spend 20 minutes a day totally focused on your dog, he will become ‘neurotic,”’ the man said.
So I decided that “neurotic” would be my Word of the Week.
Neurosis might best be defined as “an invisible injury.”
Without that 20 minutes, Rut-Roh is anxious, sometimes sad, and often looks for dragons to slay.
But nothing changes his demeanor like the words, “Let’s go!”
Neurosis is left behind and is replaced with “gratitude” as we walk and his eyes sparkle and he smiles.
I had a heart filled with “gratitude” on Monday evening, as well.
This wet summer has put me behind in the haymaking department.
Michael McNeill stopped by on Saturday evening with a message.
“Jim [Ratliff] said to tell you to cut hay till dark and we will put it up for you on Monday while you’re at work.”
As I left for work on Monday morning, the crew was moving in. When I got home, Michael, Jim, Don Ramsey and my nephew, Tanner Graham, had raked, baled and put the hay in the barn, and Sam Ramsey had sharpened my mower knives to get me ready for the next fields.
Wow! What a gift!
I, then, decided that “gratitude” would be my Word of the Week.
Later that night the Lutheran Ministries devotional popped up in my email bringing yet another interesting, but somewhat disturbing new word, “Schimpf-los.”
“Schimpf-los” is a German word meaning “swear away.”
Two entrepreneurs, Alexander Brandenburger and Ralf Schulte, have set up a hotline, available 24/7, with operators ready to take verbal abuse from people who feel like “blowing off steam by swearing.”
According to Oddity Central, the purpose of this new “service” is to thwart home and workplace altercations by providing an alternative place to relieve tension.
So, I decided that “schimpf-los” would be the Word of the Week – until – Tuesday morning when I read an article by Leanne Italie on msnbc.com titled “It’s about freakin’ time.”
Talk about disturbing, the term “F-bomb” was added to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary on Tuesday.
According to Italie’s article, the use of this term was traced to a 1988 Newsday story about the late Mets catcher Gary Carter “talking about how he had given them up, along with other profanities. But the word didn’t really take off until the late 90s” after it was heavily used by Coach Bobby Knight in a locker room tirade. Former Vice President Dick Cheney and current Vice President Joe Biden are credited with adding to the term’s popularity, as well.
But that is only one of about 100 new words found to be acceptable, if not for everyone’s use, at least for inclusion in the dictionary. Other additions include sexting, flexitarian, craft beer, e-reader, geocaching, shovel-ready as well as new definitions for “underwater,” meaning “the heartbreaking realization that you owe more on your mortgage than your property is worth, and “toxic” as it relates to an “asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market.”
Given the changes in society’s acceptance of foul language and the effects of a recession, maybe the Word of the Week should be “depressing.”
But then I got to work on Tuesday morning and discovered that the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day was “bloviate:” to speak or write verbosely and windily!
What are the odds?
So, readers, pick a word, any word, but as for me – I’ll choose “gratitude.”