Save the Words
Posted by Kathrine Roid
Some of you may have heard of http://www.savethewords.org, and if you are one of those some, this is my smile for you: 😀 For the rest of you is this post.
If you go to Save the Words, you will be greeted by a wall of artful and disused words. They have all been thrown out of dictionaries in favor of such words as “blogosphere.” Save the Words’s goal is to reverse that. Scroll over a word and it pops out at you so that you may really read it. Click a word and a window will pop up with its definition. This place can eat just as much of your time as Wikipedia and eve TVTropes.
Now, some would argue that Saving Words only messes with the march of language: if there’s no use for it, let it die. I can see that point of view. In fact, I brushed over the site the first time I saw it with this very argument. But what I’ve found is that while at some of these words have been replaced my more familiar, and often shorter synonyms, many are simply very specific words, applying to such narrow circumstances that you wonder how they came to exist at all. In a two words: they’re handy. And even those words that have been replaced with more modern words have value.
Synonyms don’t just have slightly different shades of meaning. They sound different. It’s the difference between tranquil and serene. The “s” is softer, and the “t” and “qu” are harder, so you use those words, even though they mean the same thing, at different times. Subtly, the sound affects our perceptions of words. And boy are there some doozys on Save the Words.
As I browsed the word wall, many words struck me with inspiration. They meant such interesting things and suggesting such stories to my mind. I “officially adopted” three, which I share with you now.
I get all excited when I found this word, and a little nostalgic. See, I starrified my ceiling with little glow-in-the-dark stickers when I was little, and they always seemed magical. I’d never heard a word to describe what I’d done, and here was one peeping out at me: starrify – to decorate with stars.
Most importantly, all words with three consecutive vowels deserve some recognition. Secondly, though I may get romantic ideas when I hear “gypsy” that belong to fantasy worlds (but hey, what do I write?), “gipseian” is simply so suggestion to me. It mean “of or belonging to Gypsies.” My mind latched on to “belonging to Gypsies” and now whenever I hear the word I think of exotic objects.
One thing about the words on Save the Words: they’re rarely what you think they mean. I thought rogalian maybe had something to do with regalia. Instead, it means “of or relating to a great fire.” “Rogalian” didn’t strike me as being exciting, but it kept coming back to me. I’m no pyromaniac, but great fires are cool. Now I am seriously contemplating naming a character (boy, in a fantasy I’m outlining) Rogalian. It’d fit. Except for the fact only the people reading this would know it wasn’t a name I’d pieced together using random consonants.
I spent some time clicking around on the word wall, and found a lovely collection of quirky words that suggest all sorts of crazy stories if you just let them.
Moderncide – the act of killing modern people
Now what type of world would need to specify this word for a set of crimes?
Kexy – brittle or withered
Now all you need is a kexy hex.
Pudify – to cause to be embarrassed
*cries* “You pudiffied me!”. . . and many more interesting and inspiring words all need homes. Believe me, saving the right word will serve you much more than you can serve the word.
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About Kathrine RoidI'm an science fiction and fantasy author living in Texas with an undead parakeet and teleporting cat. Think about that for a moment.
Posted on August 31, 2011, in Creative Writing Prompts, Not Directly Writing Related, Useful Sites and tagged Save the Words, Useful Sites, vocabulary, writing prompts. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.