Friday, May 16, 2014

My Week in Review: The Scavenge-Word Hunt

The Scavenge-Word Hunt

Several years ago –during a NaNoWriMo dare to use the ‘word of the day’ every, um, day– I came across one of the most wonderful words I have ever heard.

Defenestrate. To throw something out a window.

What is so wonderful about this? Honestly, I think I love the fact that there is a word with such a specific meaning. I love that there is actually a single word that relays the action of throwing something out of a window. How cool is that?

I have been on the lookout for this word ever since. Like an adventurer seeking ancient treasure, I have kept an eye and ear out during movies, TV, and books, waiting to hear just one genuine use of this literary gem. I try to use this word myself whenever I can, but as one might imagine, those opportunities to slide ‘defenestrate’ into casual conversation don’t often present themselves. (Can't you see someone throwing this into an argument? "I'm so angry, I could defenestrate you!") I have yet to see anyone actually employ it.

At least, until this week.

Super special bonus points are awarded to Numb3rs (season 2, episode 5) for granting me the first success this four year scavenger hunt has yet produced. Granted, it wasn’t mentioned off-hand, but it tickled me pink to hear it all the same. It gives me hope that this word will rise from obscurity. All the time I’ve spent waiting and watching, after all the heartache and despair, and it has all paid off. 

I knew it would happen someday. I just knew it.

Vocab Fab:

Speaking of rarely used and little known words:

  • Promulgate: Promote or make widely known
I pulled this from Kevin J. Anderson's The Dragon Business (which is so far hilarious). Anderson makes a point, every time he uses this word, of saying how rarely it is used and that the characters have never actually heard it in a sentence before now. Maybe this is the trick to using 'defenestrate' on a more regular basis...

Writing Corner:

Revise, rewrite, realize something doesn’t work, repeat.

Reading Nook:

I finished two books this week:

The Crystal Bridge by Charlie Pulsipher, which gets five stars. This is sci-fi and, while I like to think that I read sci-fi, whenever I try to pick one up I have the hardest time getting into it. Not so much with this one. The hardcore sciencey (that is totally a word) elements of this story is what really drew me in, which is frankly astounding, considering how much I hated science in school. Really, really hated it. I never could wrap my brain around a lot of it. I’m hoping that –in addition to providing a great sci-fi adventure romp with distinct fantasy elements right down to mentions of Tolkien and elves– The Crystal Bridge may have sparked a new interest.

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell, which gets four stars. I recently watched the BBC miniseries by the same name and absolutely loved it, which meant I had to read the book it was based on. Or in this case, books. If you’ve seen the miniseries, let me warn you that each of its three main storylines is pulled from three different Gaskell novels. (Cranford centers around Miss Matty and Mary Smith.) This is a very sweet book about the small English town of Cranford and the people who live there, and the audiobook's narrator gave a wonderful performance. It’s definitely a different kind of story for me because it’s more about the everyday lives of people in a period community than a particular storyline or event. Whenever I read Gaskell’s work, I always feel that I get a genuine slice of the time, unspoiled by artistic license. But maybe that’s just me.

What are YOU reading this week?


  1. "I take it that 'gentleman' is a term that only describes a person in his relation to others; but when we speak of him as 'a man,' we consider him not merely with regard to his fellow-men, but in relation to himself,---to life---to time---to eternity. A cast-away lonely as Robinson Crusoe---a prisoner immured in a dungeon for life---nay, even a saint in Patmos, has his endurance, his strength, his faith, best described by being spoken of as 'a man.' I am rather weary of this word 'gentlemanly,' which seems to me to be often inappropriately used, and often, too, with such exaggerated distortion of meaning, while the full simplicity of the noun 'man,' and the adjective 'manly' are unacknowledged---that I am induced to class it with the cant of the day."

    -North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

    I had this written in a word document where I like to jot down quotes I like and find meaningful or unique. (I actually haven't touched it in a long time though)

    North and South might not have been unique in dealing with issues like poverty at this time period (Dickens' favorite subject) but the novel is very readable and entertaining with characters that are relatable and memorable.

    Ah, so many great books, so little time...

    1. That's a wonderful idea to write down good quotes! I may have to start that myself.