Monday, January 5, 2009

Notes on A-D

Shea begins his year-long odyessey by describing having the 20-volume OED delivered to his house. I was interested to note that he does not give a date or general time of year to start.

I see the OED in print almost any day I am at work. It is indeed a majestic work. I have rarely used the print version though. I use it online.

As I go back through my notes for the letter "A", I notice that I marked two words. The first word Shea discusses, and the last one. It is just a coincidence that these two entries were of interest to me. The first "abluvion" - substance of things washed away, because it reminded me to move my clothes from the washer to the drier, and the last "avidulous" - somewhat greedy because Shea's comment on it is "The perfect word to describe such occurrences as when the cashier gives too much change and we neglect to draw his attention to it." I remembered last year buying some fabric at a store that was going out of business. Although I was purchasing enough fabric and notions to make a dress, and a jacket the clerk only charged me $20. Even at the going-out-of-business prices I knew I'd been undercharged. I mentioned it to the clerk who waved me away. I felt a bit smug at my fabulous deal.

The one word I marked in the B section was "bemissionary" to annoy with missionaries. My sticky note says "Try going to the Amazon." My family and I traveled to the a deforested area of Brazil in 2000. Everyone I met asked if I was a "missionaria". I realized after I'd been there for a few weeks that every other American I met was a missionary. I wondered if the people there were being "bemissionaried", or if they didn't mind. I, myself, felt a bit annoyed by them.

Shea did not begin his reading of dictionaries with the OED. He has not only read them most of his life, he clearly knows all about them. His "C" entry begins with descriptions of several different dictionaries, including histories and scholarly comparisons between several different dictionaries, and finally explaining what makes the OED different.

It turns out the "C" entry was the one I liked best, even though it didn't include my favorite C-word (coffee). Cellarhood - "the state of being a cellar" - When would you even conceive of using this one! However, I am quite likely to use Colloquialist -"an excellent talker". I know several people who fall into this category.

Shea's cynicism of marriage is evident in his editorial of the word "Conjugalism" (the art of making a good marriage". "...we still have not mastered it" are the last words in his entry. I disagree. A simple way to start having blissful marriage, is for both parties to remember to say "please" and "thank you". See my sermon on the topic. Also check out The for more advice about blissful relationships.

Shea begins the "D" section with a description of his friend Madeline's house, another dictionary-phile. It is always good to know that there are others like you.

My favorite word from the D-section is dispester (to get rid of a nuisance). I checked the OED online to see if its antonyn, repester, was included. It is not.

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