National Dictionary Day

National Dictionary Day is observed annually on October 16.

National Dictionary Day was created in honor of Noah Webster’s birthday (October 16, 1758) and was set aside as a day to emphasize the importance of learning and using dictionary skills and increasing one’s vocabulary.  Webster is considered the “Father of the American Dictionary”. 

Source: National Day Calendar

The Dictionarium

Flickr: The Dictionarium – In contemporary usage, a place for those obsessive types who collect or take pictures of dictionaries of all shapes, sizes, types and linguistic predilections.

Not something I have thought to do. But, I do actually have a photo of my dictionary. I took the photo because I had a pressed flower in the pages and it was really, very flat after several years. I had taken the flower from our garden after I came home from traveling and was told my cat, Rosie, had been killed. I wanted a photo of the flower, as it was in the dictionary, so I would still remember my little cat.

Why would you take a photo of a book, other than for a book review?

Three Word Thursday

Quintessentially Quilly ran Three Word Thursday for 56 weeks. The last one was a year ago.

Please join us in our weekly romp as we try to rescue lost and forgotten words from the dusty halls of antiquity. If you enjoy reading my story, leave a comment then click on the names of the other players and go see how they used these bygone words. You’ll be entertained (and possibly educated) all at once.

You don’t have Quilly to pick three words for you but you can always count on the dictionary. Flip it open and read through until you find 3 words which you may have heard of once but never really knew the meaning. Or, pick words you never heard of until just now. Once you understand the meaning, write the three words you picked into a story. How short can you make the story? Could you narrow it down to just a few sentences?

29 Ways to Stay Creative

29 Ways to Stay Creative

  1. Make lists.
  2. Carry a notebook everywhere.
  3. Try free writing.
  4. Get away from the computer.
  5. Quit beating yourself up.
  6. Take breaks.
  7. Sing in the shower.
  8. Drink coffee.
  9. Listen to new music.
  10. Be open.
  11. Surround yourself with creative people.
  12. Get feedback.
  13. Collaborate.
  14. Don’t give up.
  15. Practice, practice, practice.
  16. Allow yourself to make mistakes.
  17. Go somewhere new.
  18. Count your blessings.
  19. Get lots of rest.
  20. Take risks.
  21. Break the rules.
  22. Don’t force it.
  23. Read a page of the dictionary.
  24. Create a framework.
  25. Stop trying to be someone else’s perfect.
  26. Got an idea? Write it down.
  27. Clean your workspace.
  28. Have fun.
  29. Finish something.

This list was from Life on Michigan Avenue.

I am Not a Dude or a Guy

Dude… Hey guys…

I’ve been noticing the growing trend to use ‘dude’ and ‘guys’ as an informal, generic greeting. My Mother really dislikes this. When they come to take our order in a restaurant and say “What can I get you guys?” She cringes, politely. I understand it isn’t meant to be annoying. Yet, I’ve been thinking about it… It IS annoying. It’s also a throwback to the days when women were not counted as people.

How far have we come (as women) if we are excluded in this simple, casual way? Not a big deal, is it? What bee have you got in your bonnet. Don’t get your knickers in a knot or maybe we are just being way too sensitive and girlie about it. Or maybe, you should see what your husband thinks about it, little lady.

I don’t like it.

It is far too informal for general use. I don’t like being treated that casually by someone I am not on a first name basis with. I’d prefer a little respect, a little distance and a little space from people who don’t know me well enough to call me by name. I’m not unfriendly but I’m not desperate to have everyone like me either.

It is directed to men only. Look up the words dude and guy in the dictionary, they don’t refer to women. So we are excluded and in such a way that it is taken for granted that we aren’t being excluded. To protest makes us seem uptight bitches. I’m sure women have been called worse in our fight to gain rights for ourselves.

To me this feels disrespectful to all the women in our past who stood up and took the hard knocks in order to get women this far. How would they feel to read the ads for WordPress WordCamp directed to “Dude”? How would they feel to have the customer service person label them “guys”? How would it be to get an email from a group of women asking “how many of you guys are going to attend?” What progress was made if we are backsliding and not even noticing it happen?

I am a woman. I am a person. I am not a dude.

Do You Have a Favourite Word?

Have you heard of Wordnik? It’s an online dictionary which I read about on WebWorkerDaily.I like the look of the site, it’s a clean, fresh design. Better yet, I tested it with some odd words and it passed, had them all listed. It did not give a perfectly clear description for each but it was always interesting. In most cases I got back more than I expected with various results which they link to.

I joined the site and created my own profile.  The profile included a spot for you to add your favourite word and your least favourite word. Since I’m one of those who seldom over thinks anything (that’s another way of saying impulsive) I spent about a minute thinking and came up with:

Favourite word: caramel

Least favourite word: restricted

What would you pick as your favourite and least favorite words?

Old English Words

I Bequeath Thee has a dictionary of Old English Words. Go through the list and pick out words that attract your inner ear. Say the words out loud then for your physcial ear. Could you use those in your regular writing? A dearth of them in the midst of  overmany words would be barely noticeable.

Want more? I found the Modern English to Old English Vocabulary.

Give Them Some Words to Love

I think writers should not avoid big words. A teacher once described these as 50 cent words. Meaning you can use an ordinary,well known word or something with more flavour and description but a word people may not see everyday and need to look up in the dictionary.

There are some 50 cent words which I remember hearing from teachers in school. They have stuck with me and pop out in my conversation now and then. Words like obscurity and stifled. I like seeing them used when I am reading something. It shows that the writer has a fairly good vocabulary and isn’t bashful about using some of it.

Yes, communication and having your communication understood is the prime directive. But, many readers are also word lovers. Give them some words to love.

The Word You Use

Pick a word you don’t know. Find a dictionary (online or not), pick a letter and read down the lists of words until something unusual and unknown comes up.

Now write ad adventure for yourself based on the word you pick and it’s meaning. Make sure you use the word once and then write around it, showing the meaning so that no one reading your work would have to look up that word. Make the meaning clear through use of your story telling ability.