Vocabulary (HLD 91)

21 June 2020

I used to enjoy murder mystery books by the author Elizabeth George. She was my favourite for a while, and there was a shelf dedicated to her books in one of my book cases.

BUT… I could not read an Elizabeth George book with a dictionary sitting within arms reach. So many times I’d have to stop reading the novel to grab the dictionary to work out what the meaning of a particular word was. Sometimes I could work it out, but mostly it was not obvious.

Now I consider myself to have a good working knowledge of the English language. But this woman seemed to take great delight in showing off the fact that she knows more words than me.

I think when I came across one of her novels that had me hunting for the dictionary FOR THE OPENING LINE OF THE BOOK, I decided that maybe it was time that the Elizabeth George shelf of the bookcase gets donated to the secondhand book stall at the church fete. The opening line was “It was a solecism of the very worst kind”.

Don’t get me wrong – I thinks it’s important that we educate ourselves. A friend and I when doing the nine letter word anagram puzzle in the paper challenged each other to use a particular word that day, no matter how ridiculous or unfamiliar that word was. It’s fun, you learn new words that you may never use again, and for a little while we sound like we are smart. People are generally not fooled, for some reason.

There are a few ‘word of the day’ things available to us to do something similar – calendars or toilet rolls often offer this challenge to our daily lives. No matter our age or education level, it doesn’t hurt to keep our brains active by trying to broaden our vocabulary.

The reason for today’s topic? My mum learnt a new word from a conversation she overheard staff in the nursing home use.

She’s itching to use it in conversation but just can’t find the right person who she can have that conversation with.

The word?

Shart.

You can thank my mum for today’s topic, and if you don’t know the word give her a call – she’d love to broaden your vocabulary too 🙂

Oh – and in case you share my level of vocabulary, a solecism is a grammatical mistake in speech or writing, or a breach of good manners.

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