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Tuesday, March 07, 2017

It Pays To Enrich Your Word Power

This is going to probably make me known as the biggest dweeb in all the world, but one of the things that I used to love to do when I was a little kid was read the dictionary from cover to cover.

To some of you reading this, this might be the most boring activity one can imagine.  To me, it was fun.  I've always loved the English language, and I have always been fascinated by words and their meanings.

I think my very first experience with a dictionary was when I was a kid and I owned the Charlie Brown Dictionary.  It was a book that I loved and read so much that it fell apart and I had to get another one (and that copy was lost in a move and I have wanted another one since).

Anyway, the Charlie Brown Dictionary began my quest to enrich my word power.  When I was a kid, Archie Comics would reprint alphabet gag pages that showed the Archie characters acting out words that began with that particular letter.  It was how I learned the meaning of the word antidisestablismentarianism.

That 28-letter-word means being against those against the establishment.  So, if a group of people were protesting Denny's, and I decided to protest against those people, then I would be partaking in antidisestablishmentarianism.

And, of course, you had Reader's Digest which as far back as I could remember had a section inside of it called "It Pays To Enrich Your Word Power".  I think that was probably my favourite section in that whole periodical (aside from the fascinating Drama In Real Life stories that would appear in each issue).  I remember always trying to guess at each word and its meaning from the four choices that I was given.  When I was a kid, I was lucky to get a score of more than three out of twenty.  As an adult, I tend to now score anywhere between fourteen and eighteen.

Some might consider that to be a great score, and others might not.  But I'm quite fine with it.  I believe that we are never too old or too young to increase our word power.  And let's face it.  English can be one of the most complex languages to learn without the added pressure of spelling them correctly or making the sentences make sense grammatically.

(Though admittedly I have become amused by funny misspellings and atrocious grammar.  Maybe a little bit too amused.)

Of course, these days we now have Google at our disposal to look up any and all words that exist.  But when I was younger, the only way I knew the word "googol" was the number one that was followed by an insane amount of zeroes.  And I learned that by looking it up in the dictionary.

And Square One Television.  But that's a moot point.

So, I thought that I would play a little game with all of you.  I'm going to write my very own version of "It Pays to Enrich Your Word Power" right here in this blog.  I've taken ten different words and phrases, and it's your job to guess what the words mean.  It's definitely a lot harder to write these quizzes out than it is to answer one, believe me.

And NO GOOGLE.  That's cheating. 

Here's your quiz.  Good luck!


a)   a lounge that has a lot of extra space
b)   a person who is very chatty
c)   a sandwich spread
d)   feeling incredibly tired


a)   No worries
b)   A character on the soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful"
c)   All is not well
d)   An African nation located between Niger and Nigeria


a)   one of the side effects of SARS
b)   a medicine used to treat measles
c)   a Crayola crayon colour
d)   a soft drink

4.      MNEMONIC

a)   a memory trick
b)   a rock band
c)       possessed by the devil
d)   the process of turning a rock into a diamond


a)   a mound of rock that is found at the top of a cave
b)   a mound of rock that comes out the bottom of a cave
c)   a mound of rock that comes out of the wall of a cave
d)   a cave

6.       YAHRZEIT

a)   a dice game
b)   a Chinese delicacy
c)   a memorial for the first anniversary of a person's death
d)   a bluish-purple flower grown in Germany

7.       QUETZAL

a)   a gold and green bird
b)   a unit of measurement
c)   a type of British cookie
d)   a Japanese sportscar


a)   a girl's fifteenth birthday celebration
b)   a woman's fiftieth birthday celebration
c)   a fifteenth wedding anniversary
d)   a fiftieth wedding anniversary


a)   a prehistoric creature
b)   a spoiled child
c)   a doctor that specializes in breasts
d)   a type of thermometer

10.       XIPHOPAGUS

a)   a tomb found in ancient Egypt
b)   a person who is against organized religion
c)   a set of conjoined twins
d)   an island off the coast of Greece

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