Thursday, May 20, 2010

Because I love Words

I love words. You probably all know that. I mean, I use them to earn my living, to connect to people from all over the world in a way it would be impossible to do without the stories I tell.

But did you know I adore etymology too. What is it, you might ask? (As I did when I first heard this delicious word.) According to Wikepedia: Etymology is the study of the history of words and how their form and meaning have changed over time. For a woman who read the dictionary as a young girl for *entertainment*, etymology is a natural fascination. Words are my other lover (and Hubcap knows it very well lol) ~ their meanings, their histories and their progressions fascinate and tittilate. Yes, really.

My children know me so well, they've given me books on etymology for Mother's Day and birthdays. :) I'm a lucky woman, I know. ;-)

I have about a dozen thesauri as well as online word reference links in abundance in my Favorites folder. I talk with the words I read, but certainly don't always pronounce them correctly. For years I thought façade was pronounced [fah-kade]. Yep, I'd never heard it spoken, I'd only read it - in my romance novels, thank you very much. The first time someone corrected me, I blushed and gushed. [feh-sahd] sounds *so* much nicer!

So, I thought I'd share some of my favorite links with you all today.

Online Etymology Dictionary for words.

Online Etymology Dictionary for names.

Terrific article in the Daily Mail on this history of some of our best loved words and phrases.

It's your turn: do you have a favorite word/phrase? Something that just tickles your fance every time you hear/read it? Do you know it's origins? Is there a word you read but mispronounced just because you had to use it once you'd learned it, like me?


Anonymous said...

I dunno if I have a fave word/phrase or not. But I do think that words spoken by others w/ accents can be laughable (as I said before, I can't think of a word/phrase at the top of my head). And I do agree w/ you, Lucy, about the facade word. I thought of it but then I heard it is said that way.

Oh, and the word "gay" is a thorny one. I always think "does it mean happy?" or the modern definition of the word, when I read it in a book or other articles. I do prefer the original definition of the word.

Judy F said...

Hey Lucy. I don't know if I have a favorite word or phrase. I do say yippe Skippee a lot at work. LOL

Judy said...

I laughed because just last week I corrected my older sister's pronunciation of facade. My mother never hesitates to correct a misspoken word, so we tend to be a little touchy about it. One of my best friends and I discussed "okay" in historical novels. She thought it too modern, so I went hunting. It isn't. AOK is 20th century, but okay is a condensed French word that's been in use for hundreds of years. I'm not as passionate about it as you, Lucy, but I've done a lot of checking into histories of words. Words I thought were really old aren't, and words I thought were relatively recent aren't. Passionate is a great word, so are delicious and fabulous. There are simply words that feel good in your mouth. Carpe diem and "don't forget to breathe," are phases I like to use. Fun topic!

Valerie said...

I have favorite words. :) I love words too, I find the whole process fascinating. Isn't it amazing that we can communicate by putting scribbles on a page, whether pen or pc, and the scribbles become meaningful? It's just amazing to me.

I love the word naughty. It makes me giggle and I can't say it with out smiling. LOL

Another word I like is oligopoly. I just like to say it. LOL

As for mispronouncing on purpose, I have a friend who constantly pronounced beautiful as "BEE-AH-U-Tea-full". Sooo of course, I liked it so much I had to steal it. I save it for reserve times though, when I really want to express a higher level of bee-ah-U-ty. LOL

etirv said...

The work "pernickety" is cute and makes me smile every time I hear it. OK, another word I'm currently obsessed with is "geoduck." Learned it when I watched last week's Top Chef Masters episode. I can't get over how it's pronounced "gooey duck" not "geo duck" as in geography... and it's a clam, not a duck!

Lucy Monroe said...

Oooh...I do love discovering fellow word-buffs! This *is* a fun topic and I've really enjoyed reading your replies. Thank you so much for taking the time to join in the discussion. :)

On a personal note...Judy, you rock! I knew there was a reason I always spelled okay out in historicals and used OK in contemps. (Until the copyeditors undid all my work and used publisher preference.) LOL I had no idea about its earlier roots though and now I just want to shout it from the rooftops, having been publicly chastised for using it in my historicals. ;-)

Kate Davies said...

Hee! I get tripped up by place names. Especially in our neck of the woods out here, where so many places have Native American origins. I still remember my Dad correcting me on the pronunciation of Tulalip - I thought it was "TOO-la-LIP", not "too-LAY-lip". At least he corrected me BEFORE I gave the speech in debate class the next day!

flchen1 said...

Ooh, very fun, Lucy! I love words, too, but I don't have specific favorites (at least none that come to mind at the moment!) It's always fun to learn where words come from, too--glad your family knows what you love so well!

Valerie said...

Oh place names are really hard for me. I could never pronounce anything right when I lived in Philadelphia. I'm originally from AZ, where there is a lot of Hispanic and Native American influence on pronunciations. In Philadelphia it's all Welsh like Bala Cynwyd, Wissahickon and Erdeheim. I was a comedy riot for friends who witnessed my mangled pronunciations. I still can't pronounce them!

Eventually I moved back to Arizona, and I have to tell you, it was somewhat of a relief to not have to try to unmangle all those words. LOL

Lucy Monroe said...

Oh, I hear you! When I lived in Olympia, the Native American names for streets and places were always tripping me up, but I still found them lyrical. Go figure. LOL (Smooches, friend and thanks so much for stopping in. [g])

Fedora...I am one lucky gal, I know it. ;-)

Valerie...made me laugh. I so get your relief!

red said...

First of all English is not my native language so a lot of words in English I only know from books I read so I'm sure I have no idea how to pronounce them.

Second in my native language which is Hebrew I don't have problems pronouncing words but I do have problems with some of the grammar laws since we use male and female form to words and it get very confusing and lets not even took about the fact we write from right to left so all in all Hebrew is not an easy language to learn when you are older since it's very different than other languages.

Finally my name, Moran, is very hard to pronounce in English so every time I visit the US I just hate telling people my name so it won't sound like moron LOL

Deb830 said...

I love the image with this blog!!! Too bad I'm horrible at pronunciation and getting the right words to come out. I also know I butcher names in books all the time but at least that's in my mind. Thank goodness for computers. I found this site that will try to pronounce the word for you.

I guess a word that I've adopted from my boss is "theoretically" but I do like etirv's word "pernickety".

Again, great blog.
deb ;0)

Jan said...

Lucy! I love words. My second teaching certification is English grade 9-12. Plus I edit for an online publisher and I review with another online site.

My sons grew up being corrected constantly and the other day my 19 year old said something and waited a heartbeat before he corrected himself! It was too funny.

Diana_Duncan said...

Facetious. Love that word. The way it sounds, the way it looks. And so appropriate to me. LOL!

Valerie said...

Facetious is a good one. I always laugh when my dad says the word sarcasm, because he actually pronounces it sourcasm...which is really more appropriate when you think about it. LOL

Lucy Monroe said...

I think a lot of mispronounce words in our heads when we read, especially names. For years I thought Sean was pronounced [see-ehn]. LOL Rhys has always read [riss] to me rather than [reece] and Lise is [leezeh] to me rather than [lisa]. The first time I heard the correct pronunciation, I thought, "Oh, my gosh...I'm pronouncing my own heroine's name wrong." And then I decided she could pronounce her name however she liked and in *our* world it was [leezeh]. LOL

Lucy Monroe said...

Oh, and definitely landed on one of my favorites as well. I adore facetious 'cuz it's to perfect for its meaning. Like snarky. Too perfect.

What are words you all think *don't* fit their meaning? For me, a lot of our technical terms for body parts just don't feel like they fit. I know, weird...but why do you think I'm always trying to come up with new ones? ;-)

Judy said...

Clarification, from the Merriam-Webster Online:

AOK started in 1961

Variant(s): or okay \ō-ˈkā, in assenting or agreeing also ˈō-ˌkā\
Function: adverb or adjective
Etymology: abbreviation of oll korrect, facetious alteration of all correct
Date: 1839

Judy said...

Earliest claimed usage is 1790, checking at Wikipedia, and AskOxford, has the several language basis. That 1839 at MW was from an election slogan, so I'm thinking it was in use well before then.

Valerie said...

Hmm..."OK" is fascinating. Here is a website I found with lots of interesting information on it.

Lucy Monroe said...

Fascinating discussion on "okay" ~ loved the link you sent Valerie. I spent way too long reading all the theories. :)

Anonymous said...

I read a book with a man who didn't curse. When he got mad he said "Crackers and milk" and I just loved that. The author said that her husband says it.

Lucy Monroe said...

Leni...have you ever read the Nero Wolf novels by Rex Stout? There are several colorful phrases like that in them. I adore that kind of "colorful" language. LOL

Michelle B said...

I don't know that I have a favorite word, but my dad and I are always joking around about words used incorrectly (especially words where the "th" morphs into an "f" like "birfday").

I do have to say that I absolutely love the picture on this post! Where did you find it?

Lucy Monroe said...

MichelleB...I love that kind of family lore/interaction. It's the stuff that fuels our memories and keeps us warm in our hearts. :)

I did a Google image search for "word" and that picture came up. It so perfectly represented how I feel about words, I had to use it. :)