Spo-fans know I have a fervent appetite for new words. Dictonary.com supplies me with my daily fix for the fancy and the fabulous. 19th century novels are a gold mine for atypical and infrequent words. Presently I am hearing a recording of “The Pickwick Papers”; I stop the book whenever Mr. Dickens uses a word I do not recognize or know the exact definition, I look it up and write it down in my list of ‘Words to learn’.

I drive Someone to distraction with ‘Word of the day’ which I use as many times as possible until I feel certain I have it.  Someone always seems to know the words. Example: I’ll ask if he’s ever heard of the word “peripatetic”. He gives me a mild supercilious look and says ‘Oh, that‘ and quickly defines it.

I like fancy adjectives, especially words ending in ‘ous”. Like the Spice Girls they tend to blur together. Here are the current lovelies I’m trying to keep in my cranium:

accrete

ashram

circumlocution

derogate

emulate

pedagogue

salubrious

scabrous (jolly good fun)

timorous

and –

vituperate

My over 50 years old mind has taken on a Teflon-like coating and very little sticks to it anymore.  I either forget the word, or its meaning, or both.  I recently found an old list of words. I couldn’t remember some of them. Most of them I could still define, but I haven’t used them viz. they haven’t gotten into my daily conversation, alas.

Here’s some examples, some of them I’ve managed to retain:

pusillanimous

remonstrate

myriad

lugubrious

perfidious

capacious

audacious

implacable

temerity vs. audacity vs. effrontery

and – wait for it :

ragnarok

Collecting old words is infinitely cheaper than collecting rubber stamps or Pacific Northwest Native American artwork. The few downsides to collecting uncommon words into a formidable vocabulary are: boring people to death, miscommunication, and (worst of all) malapropism. At least I will a fopdoodle rather than a fool.

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