Cogitating on Words

Oops! I made the commitment to learn a new word each week and write about it. Seems I’ve delayed doing that for a while, so this afternoon I made note to play catch up. That meant I needed a new word.

It’s easy to find new words when you read, so that’s precisely what I did. It had been a while since I’d gone through my WP Reader, which inevitably bounces me around, leading me to new blogs and new writers. Such fun! It wasn’t before long that I came across a new word – one that I don’t think I’ve ever heard before.

cogitate (v.) – to ponder or meditate on intently.
Example: After receiving such a wonderful response on his latest novel, he began to cogitate on the seedling of an idea he had for his next book.

Great word!! Love it.

Shortly thereafter, I came across another word I wanted to look up. It’s one of those I’d heard before and understood in context, but never been confident enough to use myself. Since it’s been a while, I figured why not do two? So the adventure began…

denigrate (v.) – to belittle or attack the reputation of; defame.

Example: That opinion piece in the paper denigrates everyone who participated in the event, implying they did not work very hard when in fact their efforts were crucial to the event’s success!

When I looked up ‘denigrate’, a little video began playing in the upper right corner of the Merriam-Webster website. It had yet another great word: defenestration. Not only was the woman in the video defining the word, but she was giving the history of it as well! The history, for the record, is fascinating.

defenestration (n.) – the act of throwing someone or something out a window.

Example: Protestants of Prague found two officials guilty of violating a decree that granted freedom of religious expression and sentenced them to defenestration, which was carried out shortly thereafter.

The video, I discovered, is part of a series called ‘Ask the Editor’. …Series, you say?

Immediately I bounced back to the cogitate page and discovered another ‘Ask the Editor’ segment that was equally as fascinating! It was titled “What Ironic really means” (and don’t we all want to know?). To be brief, we’ve been using the term more or less “incorrectly” for over one hundred years and true situational irony (the only context in which in the word may ‘properly’ be used) sometimes must be so specific it just takes the fun out of it all. After feeling justified in my recent uses of the word “ironic”, I scrolled down to yet another link: Top Ten Words for Unusual Colours.

Squee!!

I think it’s important to use synonyms in writing. Really, finding new and creative ways of saying the same old things is good practice in any case. So the new words for colours intrigued me, then educated me. Apparently, ‘puce’ is not the color I thought it was and ‘bittersweet’ describes more than chocolate.

Finally, since it’s hit 33*C today (low 90’s for you Fahrenheiters), I looked up some new words to describe today’s temperature sans air conditioning. (Thank the heavens for my trusty fan!)

Today it is hot. Not quite equivalent to anything you’d do in the kitchen, such as boiling or baking, roasting or sizzling – I don’t feel as though I’m cooking. It is, perhaps, fervid; and most definitely sweltering. Positively thermal, really. Though it’s too humid to be torrid, yet not enough to be tropical. At the peak of the day it was absolutely stifling, but the breeze has since carried that feeling away. Now I’d say the day is almost sultry… though I think that word would fit better if I lived someplace like New Orleans.

Aren’t words wondrous?

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