Words! Words!

I was that strange little kid who was always walking around with a dictionary, and I’ve never lost my love of learning new words. This year I’ve learned a number of them.

One of them is liminal.

At the moment, my church is going through a transition. My minister retired and we have an interim minister, and so you would think one would refer to this as a transitional time. But not so. The correct word is liminal–which means transitional. The thing that throws me about that word is that it doesn’t sound to me like what it is. Liminal sounds biological. Like I hurt my arm. But I see from checking dictionary.com, that it means “situated at the limen,” and limen means doorway. So liminal means you are poised at the threshold of a new entry, which is sort of beautiful.

Another word I learned is angled.

I was talking to my daughter-in-law-to-be. She is an editor and she had to take a phone call and she excused herself by saying, she had to angle with someone. I, of course, thought I misheard her, but it turned out that she was talking to one of her reporters about the shape the story would take and how they would focus it. I love a strong verb, and plan to use this one, when appropriate.

Then, there was semelparous.

This word I learned from The New York Times and it refers to species that, shortly after they mate, drop dead. This is not a word I expect to use with frequency, but it is intriguing.

How about you? What words have you learned this year?

One comment

  1. I subscribe to Merriam Webster’s word of the day and have learned a lot of new words this year. I’ve also learned that I have misunderstood more than a few. I love reading a book and coming upon a word I don’t know. This is one of my favorite things about Elizabeth George’s books and found it happened twice recently while reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I think it happens more often when I am reading authors from across the puddle. But my favorite new word is “pluviofile, which means lover of rain, which I do.

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