Eat your words or choke on them.

The old adage says, “Be wary of the words you speak–of them oft you have to eat.”

I’m modifying that a bit, I’ve choked on words I’ve spoken.  And, more often, wanted to choke others for the words they spoke.  Like the erstwhile brother-in-law who asked my favorite aunt, “How’s that mean old man of yours?” Her reply? “He’s still dead.” I wanted desperately to reverse time fifteen seconds to choke the BIL before he got the awful words out.

My New Year’s Resolution is to help you along the same journey I’m taking.  I am intentionally expanding my vocabulary.  I have a cigar box where I keep words or phrases I find unusual or interesting—or strange. Erstwhile is a new word for me. I don’t know how I missed it for nearly sixty years!

Thank you to e e cummings for puddle-wonderful and mud-luscious. Thank you to unknown for drums of thunder.

One of my favorite authors, Linda Lael Miller, uses the word ubiquitous. Not everyone who tries to write cowboy stories has actually been on a horse. It is obvious to me that she’s been saddle-sore from long hours working on horseback. My own knees have buckled a time or two when getting out of the saddle after a long day of rounding up cattle on the river breaks. (We’d be at the river before sun-up, and were usually in bed before midnight—usually.) She describes the pain exquisitely.

I’ve been listening to Lady Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER series while I clean house or work out at the gym. She has a fantastic vocabulary. I get two or sometimes three new words out of each of her books. More often, I find new definitions or applications for the words I already knew.

I love Louis L’Amour. I must. I have a whole bookshelf with nothing but LL’A Books on it. I don’t find new words in his writing, but I’ve been reading them since I was in grade school.

Without further ado, here are this blog’s words in no particular order. Definitions are compliments of a variety of sources, including websites, people, and old fashioned paper dictionaries.

  1. hoike; to lift abruptly or pull upwards with great effort. She hoiked the soggy collie onto the examination table.
  2. amorphous; without a clearly defined shape or form. The fog alone wasn’t creating the amorphous ghosts between tombstones and statues.
  3. ubiquitous; pervasive, universal, found everywhere. Think about the teens at the mall with their ubiquitous earbuds.
  4. susurrus; whispering, rustling, or murmuring. I’d heard susurrus used to describe the wind in the pines and in the long prairie grass, but I hadn’t known it could rip a sword from its sheath. It surely can!
  5. unalloyed; pure. Copper is not an alloy, but bronze is. Bronze is made of copper and tin. Brass gets its “z” from zinc. Okay, I knew that! But, his unalloyed anger erupting with the susurrus of his sword being unsheathed from its metal encumbrance and re-sheathed in his enemy was a bit disconcerting.

There are your five words for the week. I invite you to send me your favorite words! I’d love to add them to my repertoire.

Happy writing and blessings to you and yours,

Isaiah 40:31


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