I was thinking today about how I remember where I was and what I was doing when I learned a certain word. Don’t ask me why I was remembering this; I don’t know. But it got me to thinking of other words where I remember the time and context in which I learned them. It seemed like it would make a worthy blog post. So here they are:
– Expendable – This is actually the word that prompted this post. I learned the word while listening to Adventures in Odyssey as a kid. One particular episode was riffing the old Star Trek series. During the course of the adventure, the characters happened upon a dangerous circumstance. Rather than having one of the recognizable, named characters go potentially get hurt, they sent out the aptly-named “expendable crewman”. It’s a lot funnier in hindsight now that I know both the word and the series to which they refer.
– Nostalgia – This was actually the name of a craft store in the Dallas, TX area when I was 10 or 11. When I first saw the word as we drove by, I had never heard it pronounced, and didn’t take proper time to sound it out. It looked like it should be Spanish to me, so for a long time I thought it was pronounced “no-stal-ah-GEE-ah”. Then I actually said it that way to my mom, and was subsequently informed (after some giggling) of how the word sounded and what it actually meant.
– Defenestrate (meaning to throw someone/thing out the window) – I learned this from the SuperPoke application on facebook about a year ago.
– Pugilist and philatelist – respectively meaning “boxer” and “stamp collector”. I learned these in a Heywood Banks song called “Philip Farr” (abt. age 13).
– Antidisestablishmentarianism – Reading The Light and the Glory (yeah, yeah, I know, try not to laugh too hard). I was probably twelve years old or so. It took me a really long time to figure out how to pronounce it, but boy was I pleased with myself when I did.
– Taxidermy – Another Heywood Banks song, titled “Monseiur la Kiki la Cat”. I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what that word was doing in that song.
– Discombobulation – A record (yes, the big round groovy vinyl thing) that I listened to when I was probably 7 or 8. But I actually thought that this was a made-up word for the next two or three years. It made me very happy to discover it was a real word that actually meant what it seemed like it should mean.
– Catatonium – Yet another Heywood Banks song, called “The Cat Got Dead”. And it didn’t bear much better for the subject of this song than “taxidermy” did for Monseiur la Kiki.
– Avid – A cartoon in a kids’ magazine called God’s World. Admittedly, the point of this cartoon was to teach its readers new vocabulary words. Evidently it worked. I still remember what the cartoon looked like and everything.