Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Take Me at My Word...A New and Impressive Word a Week

January 27, 2010

Take Me at My Word

I’ve decided to run another little segment in my MS. WRITE-NOW blog every week called “Take Me at My Word,” along with the weekly “Not Not” lists…just because.
Hey! Maybe “Just Because” will be the name of another segment….soon I’ll have more segments than days of the week.

I’m treating my blog as though it’s a very small, but frequently published magazine and I’m the editor which makes for a real decrease in my rejection statistics. Speaking of statistics, as it turns out, statistics show operating their own magazine is the dream of over 60% of all published writers in the world. Now, granted, these statistics have been created by me and my informal poll which had me asking 10 writers, “Hey! If you could have any writing gig in the world what would it be?” to which 60% of them responded, “I’d love to operate my own magazine.”

The great thing about running our own publishing gig is that the only rejections we get are the ones that occur when we’ve eaten something like a bean burrito for breakfast and it doesn’t agree with us, so our body threatens to reject the aforementioned item in an effort to save itself from our poor dietary decision making. I know, yummy visual, huh? I’m not saying this has ever happened to me, a bean burrito just jumped into my mind out of nowhere.

So, as you would guess, “Take Me at My Word” will offer up a somewhat unusual and interesting word that may be tough to introduce into a conversation, but, boy, if you can, impressive stuff! I love words and as many of you know there is a word for just such a person. It’s a word lover. Okay, sure, that may be true, but I’m kidding, because I am referring to a more formal, Latin-y without salsa name: philologist.

While we’re on the subject of words (stop yawning!) here’s a bit of info about this word: philologist: - from Greek philologi, from philologos, fond of learning or of words : philo-, philo- + logos, reason, speech; - Latin philologia.

In a move to grab your attention by confusing you, I’m actually not writing about the word philologist today, but rather an intriguing-looking word which makes you stop and grab your dictionary by the short bindings upon encountering it: Amanuensis

Contextually, it doesn’t provide any big clues, but maybe it hearkens up the name Amadeus for you, like it does for me? Again, not helpful because the word has nothing to do with music, although I could write another blog riffing and making up my own connections, much as I make up my own statistics. (Something to look forward to?)

I came across this puppy in a seemingly simple reading which made me wonder if the author had recently purchased a “Vocabulary Word a Day” calendar and was just itching to use the word. When I looked it up, I realized that I could be accused of engaging in amanuensis in the past. It could even be used to describe me because I’ve amanuenosed a few times in my day. (This word is actually a noun, but I decided to “verb it up,” as is often done with very fine intellectuals in our equally very fine master’s level language programs.) What does the freaking word mean? I’m glad you asked!

"a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another; secretary."

Word Origin & History
"one who takes dictation," 1619, from L. amanuensis, from servus a manu "secretary," lit. "servant from the hand," from a "from" + manu, ablative of manus "hand"

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper

So, there you have it. Doesn’t that word just look so danged smart you might name a magazine after it? Dibs!

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