Memorizing the Dictionary

So here I am, poring over my Merriam-Webster again. I’ve been inspired by the recent TV and newspaper pictures of that six year old girl studying for the National Spelling Bee. Did you catch that? Six years old? National Spelling Bee? Amazing!  She didn’t have a paperback of Crossword Puzzle Answers either, it was the official dictionary. When I was six I was still trying to figure out why the word “Dick” didn’t look like the word “Jane.”

I decided if I want to pass myself off as a would-be writer, I’d better spiff up my vocabulary. With that in mind I’ve made several lists of words I’d love  to use in my writing or in my speech if I could just spell, pronounce or understand them.  I found a few words that duplicate the meanings of other words, created for the sole purpose of confusing us. I even found words I thought I knew the meaning of, only to realize that Boy! Was I wrong!

First, a list of words I’d love to slip into everyday conversation, providing I could use them properly.

ABSTEMIOUS – means sparing of food and drink.

my definition: no fun at all.

PRIMOGENITURE – means oldest son inherits.

my definition: good plot for a murder mystery.

PROPINQUITY – means nearness in time or place.

my definition: “get outta my face.”

INTERPOLATE – means insert word in conversation or text.

my definition: be a buttinsky.

OMNISCIENT – means infinite awareness and insight.

my definition: parents of unruly teens need ESP.

ABROGATE – means to annul. My definition: “I really wasn’t

pregnant. Sorry about that.”

Here are a few words that have basically the same meaning:

EGOISM and EGOTISM – mean excessive concern for oneself or

too much conceit, also, talking about oneself

obsessively. My definition: “That’s enough about me.

How do YOU feel about me?”

EXTRAPOLATE – means infer from unknown data, and

EQUIVOCATE – means use misleading data. my definition:

Similar usage meaning fake news.

And a few words I thought I knew that can only mean “Boy! Was I wrong!

ZEIT-GEISTE – means the general spirit of an era.

my guess: haunting, ghostly horrors.

QUOTIDIAN – means daily or ordinary. My guess: related to ancient tortoises basking at the Galapagos Islands

CORUSCATE – means flash or sparkle. My guess: extreme erosion, as in Grandpa’s toenails.

I made up one phrase I absolutely love! I’d like to use it somewhere just once:

OBSEQUIOUSLY LOQUACIOUS: my definition: smarmy baloney.

And my last phrase, with a great big “HUH?”

OBSCURANTISM means deliberate ABSTRUSENESS. My definition:

stubborn as a Missouri mule.

If I might INTERPOLATE here, I’d like to nominate the word UBIQUITOUS as the most overused word of the decade. It used to be a fun word to use, unexpected, impressive, a bit tongue-twisty, and slightly mysterious. Now it’s become so – well- so UBIQUITOUS I’m sick of it. Time to break in a new word. OMNIPRESENT might do. It rings with that slight aura of anticipation, kind of leading us on. It might not become quite so UBIQUITOUS.

After I’ve memorized the dictionary, I plan to go on to Roget’s Thesaurus, then when I have that down pat, they tell me the entire Encyclopedia Britannica is online. I’m so excited! My LINGUICA will soon be IRRETRIEVABLY TRENCHANT!  Or did I just say “My Polish sausage is beyond caustic?” OOPS!

By now I’m totally OBFUSCATED. I’d better concentrate on my MNEMONICS and be a little more PERSPICACIOUS. Maybe I’ll leave the big words for the politicians, the eggheads and the six year olds..


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