Monday, February 25, 2008

Play with Your Words

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love words and those who don't.

I admit it, I am a logophile — a connoisseur of words, both written and spoken. From Fortune magazine to fortune cookies, I believe good writing is an art, a craft, a science, a philosophy, a religion, a mission and a passion.

While working at a bank during college, it occurred to me that almost every business problem I encountered related in one way or another to miscommunication. Muddy manuals, inadequate instructions and derisory documents confounded the workplace, so I decided to major in business communications.

But words aren't all business for me. I like to play with my words, and my favorite gift of all time was a single-volume edition of The Complete Oxford English Dictionary (that even came with it's own magnifying glass). As much as I treasure my OED, I am finding new online resources that allow me to wangle my words in all kinds of interesting ways.

At, for example, in addition to definitions, you can look up rhymes and synonyms and homophones. I also love, an online search engine of more than 900 dictionaries that provides hours of fun. I once heard a comedian say that "K" words are funny. At, you can search *k*k*k* for words that contain at least three "K"s, with results that include kickback, knickknackery and skunkworks.

I love Scrabble®, too, although my brother and stepson beat me at it regularly. It turns out that it's not enough to have a first-class vocabulary, you have to be able to strategize, too. Big words are fine, but it's those pesky two- and three-letter Scrabblisms, properly placed on bonus squares, that will lead you to victory — words like zax and xi and qat (a "Q" word that doesn't require a "U"). For the record, my best ever Scrabble® word was "hosiery" on a triple word score.

My husband hates Scrabble® and other such word-related endeavors. He says English is his second language — he doesn't have a first. He doesn't get excited by finding a quirky synonym for alphabetical (abecedarian — pronounced A-B-C-darian). He does not fall on the floor laughing when I tell him about the sign over the aisle at the grocery store that reads: "Feminine Hygiene/ Incontinents." He doesn't even crack up over my mother's inadvertent puns:  "Frankly, I think I'll have a hotdog."

I say play with your words. At, you can play a word game, improve your vocabulary and help end world hunger, all for free. Click here to share your favorite word or email me at


Anonymous said...

Husbands.......enough said. Thanks for the word websites. When are you going to do a blog on Dog people vs Cat people?

Anonymous said...

My favorite word would probably be impossible to find, even if you went into my brain and saw a brain cell labeled FAVORITE WORD. It would be full of words. Anyway, my best guess is marsupial. Don't ask.

Anyways, you're funny mom! I like these blog things, so can I do one?

Besides that, I like screwing with my teachers brain whenever she gives us word homework by giving her reeeeeeeeeaaaaaalllllllyy long and confusing words. IT'S SO MUCH FUN!

Peter Rozovsky said...

Have you ever typed you name into an anagram generator?
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Susan Bearman said...

Not sure which is my favorite anagram:

A Bean Sans Rum
A Bare Mans Sun
Bare Mans Anus (No, not this one)
Amen An Ass Rub
Samba Near Sun (Maybe this one)

Peter Rozovsky said...

Mine yielded one that I liked: zesty provoker. And I like Samba Near Sun. I hear they do that in Brazil.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Laura said...

I really enjoyed this blog! I used my trusty mac dictionary to look up a few words, and I'm not ashamed to admit it! I enjoy words and I'm currently trying to expand my vocabulary so this post really did me some good. The topic was also funny and interesting. I wish you well on your future scrabble endeavors!