Thanks to my on-going dysgraphia (i.e., spelling disorder), I spend a fair amount of time on http://www.merriam-webster.com. I find it to be the most helpful of all the “look-up” tools/sites because:
(A) it gives me a nice list of word-choice options so long as I know the first 2 letters of the word I’m trying to spell (plain ol’ Google works best if I don’t know how a word starts but I can sorta-kinda sound it out and type in a fully approximated guess);
(B) it has a super-handy (for me) “medical” tab, which I use a LOT, especially this quarter, and especially during the last two weeks as I’ve worked on my neurophysiology term paper; and
(C) it has a super-nifty quiz tool called “Spell It!,” which provides 10 auditory cues for commonly misspelled words that you try to correctly type as quickly as possible, earning points along the way; you can then compare yourself to others in your age bracket and I am FINALLY getting an above-average score (it’ only taken me 2+ years to get there, post brain-bashing) — woo hoo!!
[WARNING: If you click on that Spell It! link, you CANNOT hold me responsible for the time-suck vortex you will find yourself in as you try to outperform your peers]
So, yeah, I kinda ♥ the MW website.
And on Tuesday, as I looked up “consanguineous” my MW ♥ grew even BIGGER.
Because on that day — on that very day, December 3, 2013 — the wonderful, brilliant, helpful humans behind the MW website declared “SCIENCE” to be their 2013 Word of the Year.
It made me want to throw a party for all my Word- and Science-Geek friends (hint, that’s you), so we could all geek-out together. While the poseurs and pretenders over at The Oxford Dictionaries may have chosen “selfie” as their too trendy word of the year (WotY), MW knows what’s up. They know what’s real. They know what’s important.
You may think it’s strange to choose a word, “science,” which (presumably) everyone in the world knows and loves(?) as much as all JustAdventurers do, but MW Editor-at-Large Peter Sokolowski nicely explained why MW selected “science” as its WotY:
It is a word that is connected to broad cultural dichotomies: observation and intuition, evidence and tradition. A wide variety of discussions centered on science this year, from climate change to educational policy. We saw heated debates about ‘phony’ science, or whether science held all the answers. It’s a topic that has great significance for us. And it fascinates us–enough so that it saw a 176% increase in lookups this year over last, and stayed a top lookup throughout the year.
Indeed, MW compiled its 2013 WotY list by comparing lookups in their online dictionary. The words on the list were the ones whose lookups increased the most in 2013.
So there you have it. “Science” tops the list because science was all the rage in this year’s arguments. “Selfie” is nowhere on the list because it’s a made-up, bullshize word that no one needs to look up.
MW’s remaining 9 WotY were: “cognitive,” “rapport,” “communication,” “niche,” “ethic,” “paradox,” ”visceral,” “integrity,” and “metaphor.” As I read them, I got a little creeped out. Is the NSA/MW spying on me and using my life as the inspiration for this list? Science, cognitive, communication, rapport, paradox, metaphor …. um, hey guys, that’s ME you’re talking about! If they had included “bacon” or “bicycle” on their list, I think I would’ve lost my mind.
Instead, I saw an interesting challenge for YOU, dear reader.
Because I’m deep in the abyss of preparing for next week’s back-to-back cumulative finals + term paper submission, I hereby turn over the remainder of this blog to YOU.
Here’s your challenge: In the COMMENTS section, please use all 10 MW WotY (science, cognitive, rapport, communication, niche, ethic, paradox, visceral, integrity, and metaphor) to write the briefest possible (yet 100% grammatically correct/still punchy) narrative. You may use the words in any order and in any form (i.e., feel free to convert words into verbs, adjectives, gerunds, etc).
There will be prizes for (a) the pithiest and (b) the most profound, profane, and/or proficient (as judged by me) entries. The prizes will probably involve beer, bacon, and/or JustAdventures stickers.
Can you use all 10 words in one sentence or some other radically condensed narrative? Let’s see what you’ve got…
Parting Thought (dedicated to the idiots at The Oxford Dictionaries): If you have a big enough dictionary, just about everything is a word. ~Dave Barry