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A Word A Day Makes My Day

Do you have a vocabulary word to share?

I love when I learn a new word. I’m working on a charitable event that’s coming up and the graphic designer making our program used the word "kerning."

According to about.com, kerning is the adjustment of space between pairs of letters. Kerning adds or subtracts space between letters to create more visually appealing and readable text. It’s amazing that something this simple made my day. I learned something new and, of all things, it was a new word.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a self-proclaimed word nerd and proud of it.

I read a lot, so of course I have a broad library of vocabulary words stored away in my brain. It’s using these awesome, hardly used, age-old words that I find hard to do. Will I seem snotty, over-educated, proud or simply just well read?

I was just watching the season finale of Platinum Hit with my daughter. It’s an incredible show, hosted by Jewel, in which song writing is the challenge, both melodically and lyrically. Listening to these people use, abuse, rearrange and alter words to come up with new ways to say the same things is fantastic.

In the finale, one contestant is comparing her love for her man to her religion. In it, she uses the word "blasphemy." The judges commended her for making a word like that so accessible to the “pop” generation. I asked my daughter if she knew the definition and she didn’t; however she was able to contextually figure it out due to the song’s lyrics. I was thrilled that through music our kids could possibly be learning some new vocabulary words.

It made me think of my early years after college when I would listen to the Indigo Girls and for the first time I heard the lyrics, “I spent four years prostrate to the higher mind, got my paper, and I was free.” This sentence moved me yet I had never heard the word prostrate before then. FYI, it means to lay on the ground with your face downward.

I challenge my readers to find some new vocabulary words for me in the name of a fun activity. I’d love to play those words in a Scrabble or Words with Friends game! Here’s some for you to ponder … nugatory, apocrypha and pusillanimous.

As always, email me with any news, topics or ideas that you want to read about. Remember, I’d like to be the first to know! I can be reached at laurenbgpatch@aol.com.

Lauren Margolin August 16, 2011 at 12:56 AM
thank you Jerry for emailing me the word syzygy. it's a good one!
stacy grossman October 29, 2011 at 12:09 PM
I have an 8 year old son in second grade. I love your idea of teaching him a new word a day (especially since thats about all he has the attention span for!) Is there a website or other resource you recommend to help in finding age appropriate words? Thank you Stacygg@gmail.com
Lauren Margolin October 29, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Hi Stacy, I'd say the best way for him to be exposed to new words is reading, even if it's the sports section or the neighbor section in a newspaper or magazine. There are websites out there if you search "word a day" and some that are specifically for kids. One is hosted by Merriam-Webster for kids with a new buzzword every day. Here is the link: http://www.wordcentral.com/buzzword/buzzword.php Good luck!

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