April 20, 2010

Think of all that brain space wasted on math and lyrics to 80s songs

Boy Creature sometimes asks me what words mean. This is becoming somewhat of a point of contention in our relationship.

He asks me a word, I give him a fair, if rough definition (usually. Sometimes I just get it wrong, mostly when I'm mixing it up with a similar-sounding but entirely different word) of what said word means. Then he decides that's not good enough, and looks it up, and admonishes me because my definition wasn't verbatim from the dictionary. To which I reply that I was more or less right about the word- maybe I didn't cover every nuance of meaning and every evolutionary step in its particular colloquial usage and pinpoint the etymology, but I more or less told him what that word meant, enough that the next time he came across that word, he would probably get it. And then I p0int out that if he's just going to look it up anyway, he shouldn't have asked me in the first place. And then he says, he's glad he looked it up because clearly I don't know what I'm talking about, and what good is a creative writer if they don't know ALL the words. To which I reply that I'm not a walking dictionary.

All this is why now, when he asks me what a word means, I've gotten into the habit of telling him it's complicated and he should look it up.

Just now, he asked what "halcyon" meant. I say look it up, he makes fun of me for not knowing, not a walking dictionary, blahblahblah. But I looked it up anyway, and read him ALL of the definitions in a dramatic voice. Whereupon I found this jewel:

Noun- a mythical bird said by ancient writers to breed in a nest floating at sea at the winter solstice, charming the wind and waves into calm.

Isn't that nice? I love words. Even if I can't remember them all.

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