Confessions of a Word Nut

A love of words is a requirement for a writer or editor, and I definitely consider myself to be a word geek.  I am thrilled when I come across new words.

I am part of a Toastmasters Club, and one of our meeting roles is that of Grammarian. This person keeps tabs on grammar throughout the meeting, and also introduces a word of the day to expand member vocabulary. This is an oft-hated role in our club, but as you might have surmised, it’s my favourite role.  I have post-it notes glued all over my fridge with interesting words I enjoy, to ensure I have a quick reference guide when I am club Grammarian. I regularly refer and add to the list with glee.

Technology has only helped me to become a better wordsmith. Websites such as www.thesaurus.com provide me with a plethora of word choices when I write.  I even have a dictionary.com application downloaded onto my new Blackberry, so I can quickly look up definitions to unfamiliar words, wherever I may be.

However, this new application has resulted in a bit too much word obsession over the past months.  I am a voracious reader of news websites, magazines and books of all sorts. Since I read so much each day, I find I regularly come across both new words and familiar words whose definitions I have gleaned over the years from simple context of use, rather than looking up their true meanings.

With my new phone app at my fingertips, I find myself needing to confirm the exact definition of too many of the words I come across each day. When I first downloaded the application, I looked up a word I was sure I knew the definition for. It turns out I was wrong. This wouldn’t do! It made me paranoid about my grasp of the English language, and I now find myself looking up the definitions for rather mundane words. My daily reading is now being interrupted by my search for accuracy.

Just you try to enjoy a novel when you must constantly interrupt yourself to ferret out definitions. I am currently reading a Charlotte Bronte novel, which wields many a word not in regular use today. I may be on the verge of driving myself mad. I have therefore begun banishing my phone from my presence when I start to read, lest my love of individual words destroy my truer love of reading. Here’s hoping this proves an effective elixir for my lexicon ailment.

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About Prairie Scribe Writing

Susan is the owner of Prairie Scribe, a technical writing, editing and training company located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
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2 Responses to Confessions of a Word Nut

  1. Flawless says:

    I am at a complete loss for words after reading this post! Seriously. I don’t think I know any odd or interesting words. I may have to pay more attention to this for now on!

  2. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop! My most recent “new word” encounters have been stultify, runic, colloquy and roister.

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