Wordsmithing with A.Word.A.Day

dictionaryI’ve mentioned here before that I have a fondness for words. I love finding new ones, learning their etymologies, and sneaking unique ones into my books. I suspect its a trait that many authors (and non-authors) share. Some of you may recall a previous post I made about my “pet” word tenebrous. My poor pet is so unique even the spell check dictionary on my computer wasn’t familiar with it initially.

Which brings me to the purpose of today’s post. I wanted to share one of my favorite websites for leaning new words–one I have followed for more than a decade. No, it’s not dictionary.com (although that is my browser’s homepage ^_-). The site is A.Word.A.Day, which offers a new word every day and includes a pronunciation guide,  definition, etymology, usage, and a quote of the day. Each week the featured words are chosen based on a theme–for example, this week’s theme is “illustrated words.”

Although none one them can compare to my dear tenebrous, here are a few of my favorite words that were featured this year:

  • pulchritude – Featured as a word that sounds ugly but isn’t, pulchritude is a synonym for beauty.
  • defenestration – Did you know there’s actual a term for the act of throwing someone or something out a window? Now you do.
  • obambulate – Featured as part of the theme “words that appear to be coined after someone–but aren’t,” obambulate is an archaic term meaning to walk around or wander.
  • torpor – This word both means and sounds exactly like how I feel when waking up on a cold, rainy winter day. If you haven’t figured it out based on context, torpor is a state of lethargy, apathy, and inactivity.
  • apricity – And this word is what will revive me from my torpor–“the warmth of the sun in winter.” I have a feeling it will require all of my willpower to keep this one from making an appearance in Dragon’s Bane, particularly because I will be longing for it the most right before the book’s release date. XD

If you also have a fondness for words, you should definitely check out A.Word.A.Day (Wordsmith.org)–bookmark it or sign up to receive their daily newsletter!



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