I see words as power: words provide people with a deeper and richer meaning to their emotional and professional lives, especially because so much of our lives rely on words. So not every word that I use in this little feature is completely unfamiliar to you, or at least I hope it isn't, because teaching you obscure words is not my primary intention, although I do sometimes choose obscure words to give you some fun as well as improving your vocabulary.
Instead, my goal is to demonstrate the beauty, versatility and subtlety of the English language and to acquaint you with the many wonderful languages that have been generously contributed to the English language. And of course, I hope that you choose a word or two each week to use in your daily conversation simply because it is fun to be erudite and articulate. Keep in mind that you only have to repeat something 20 times for it to become a habit. Why not pick up a few special words and make them your own unique verbal signature?
All of these words are found in something that I am reading, so I am not looking at a specific word list. Instead, I am reading half a dozen books, several newspapers and several magazines and I select words from those readings. Today's fine word, which most of you probably already recognize, was found in yesterday's NYTimes piece; The Kid with all the News about TV News.
Unprepossessing (un' PREE-poh-zes-ing) [Origin: 1425-75; late middle english possesen Old French possess(i)er, n. derivative of possession possession]
- Not overtly impressive; unremarkable; nondescript: an unprepossessing little hotel.
- creating an unfavorable or neutral first impression [syn: unpresentable].
Usage: Perhaps this is what the techno-geeks had in mind when they invented the internet -- a device to squash not only time and space, but also social class and professional hierarchies, putting an unprepossessing Maryland college student with several term papers due in a position to command the attention and grudging respect of some of society's most famous and powerful personalities.
I agree with your thoughts about the language, and your word-sharing is great. The English language is such a treat, a joy--it is the tool through which I've made my living--often translating science into lay terms, often putting together newsletters for pay and for free...the richness of the tool makes me celebrate--roll around in lush fields of choices...fool around with the OED...collect & write poetry. Here's a poem about the magic of language.
In the very earliest time,
when both people and animals lived on earth,
a person could become an animal if he wanted to
and an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
That was the time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance
might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
and what people wanted to happen could happen.
Nobody could explain this:
That's the way it was.
wow, what a fabulous poem. thanks for sharing that!