Word Nerd

One of the perks of sorting books for the Friends’ various sales is that you earn free books for your time and trouble.  A book I recently claimed is Word Nerd by Barbara Ann Kipfer, a collection of interesting words-thousands of them-their meanings and origins. Since you obviously like to read, you would probably enjoy browsing this 570-word entertainment.  Following are a few samples.
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  • The word kangaroo probably came from the Aborigines word ganjurro, which meant “large black kangaroo.” A more fanciful story is that Captain Cook asked the name of that hopping animal and was told “kangaroo,” but Cook didn’t know that “kangaroo” meant “I don’t know.”
  • Hexanol is the chemical that gives freshly mowed grass that wonderful smell.
  • A lovely synonym for snowflake is snow-blossom.
  • What is the only letter in the alphabet that takes three syllables to say?  (Are you humming the song to get to the answer?)  See below.
  • If you have a skylight that can’t be opened, it’s a deadlight.
  • The only word in the English language that consists of two letters used three times is “deeded.”
  • The sound of a sword drawn from its sheath is a wheep.  (Can’t you just hear that?)
  • The single supercontinent before continental drift was Pangaea.
  • The only fifteen-letter word that’s spelled without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.
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The Longmont Library doesn’t have Word Nerd in the catalog, but two other titles by Dr. Kipfer about language are in the collection.  And if you have a modicum (Latin, literally a short amount of time) and aren’t afraid to moil (work hard), click here to become a sorter.
Answer: W
*Written by Carol Cail — Read more from Carol at carolcail.com
*Originally published in October 2014

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