Friday, July 30, 2010

It Pays to Increase Your 'Reading' Power

When we (meaning myself, my 3 sisters and brother) were young my parents would take us on long car trips for our vacations. Nothing fancy, but we were lucky enough to go to a lot of interesting places on the east coast. Part of their strategy to keep us from being bored during the drives, was to have my mother read a page from the Reader's Digest called 'It Pays to Increase Your Word Power."

In this popular monthly feature (still running in the Digest today I believe) there were 10 to 20 vocabulary words with 4 possible answers. My mother would test us and keep score, my father would always win. But it did enrich our vocabulary I think and definitely helped us on standardized tests because there were no tutors or tutoring services in our world.

So I thought that each Friday, I might include a more modest sampling of words I come across in the course of reading a couple of newpapers, a book or two and some magazines each week. I also found some interesting facts in a book I'm reading right now and I'll pass those along as well.

(From the NY Times and Wall Street Journal this week

argurs: 1. an herb 2. trellis 3. argues 4. a camera

aerie: 1. creepy 2. secluded dwelling 3. open and breezy 4. fairy-like creature

harbinger: 1. a bird 2. a heavy drinker 3. forerunner 4. place for yachts

misogynist: 1. women hater 2. mythical expert 3. chef 4. athlete

vicarious: 1. a lot of 2. by proxy 3. victorious 3. minister's duties

argurs: (Answer: 3)

ae·rie (answer 2)
Variant(s): also aery \ˈer-ē, ˈir-, ˈā-(ə-)rē\
Function: noun
Etymology: Medieval Latin aerea, from Old French aire, probably from Vulgar Latin *agrum origin, nest, lair, from Latin ager field — more at acre
Date: 1554

the nest of a bird on a cliff or a mountaintop
obsolete : a brood of birds of prey
an elevated often secluded dwelling, structure, or position

har·bin·ger (answer : 3)

Pronunciation: \ˈhär-bən-jər\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English herbergere, from Anglo-French, host, from herberge camp, lodgings, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German heriberga
Date: 14th century

archaic : a person sent ahead to provide lodgings
one that pioneers in or initiates a major change :
one that presages or foreshadows what is to come

mi·sog·y·ny ( Answer: 1)
Pronunciation: \mə-ˈsä-jə-nē\
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek misogynia, from misein to hate + gynē woman — more at queen
Date: circa 1656
a hatred of women

vi·car·i·ous (answer: 2)

Pronunciation: \vī-ˈker-ē-əs, və-\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin vicarius, from vicis change, alternation, stead — more at week
Date: 1637

 serving instead of someone or something else
 that has been delegated 
 performed or suffered by one person as a substitute for another or to the benefit or advantage of another 
3 : experienced or realized through imaginative or sympathetic participation in the experience of another4 : occurring in an unexpected or abnormal part of the body instead of the usual one 

FUN FACTS (from a book called 'The Sword of the Templars' by Paul Christopher) 

  1. Edwin Traisman: a food scientist who created the process for freezing McDonald's french fries and helped develop Cheez Whiz
  2. Leominster, Mass.: The book says this town is the home of Foster Grants Sunglasses and the place where the plastic pink flamingo was developed though I couldn't find anything to back that up. But it may be true!
  3. Nordlicht, Hitler's Horse: Died 1968 in St. Rose, Louisiana ...Near the entrance to La Branche Plantation, just off of River Road, marked by a small plaque, is the final resting place of what may be the most notorious equine in history. This is the grave of Nordlicht, "North Light," a chestnut thoroughbred stallion who died, quietly, in the bloody year 1968. Nordlicht's early days were anything but quiet. Born in 1941 -- a life bookended by war -- Nordlicht was, some believe, the horse of Adolf Hitler.
Over The Weekend: I start my gift wrapping unit

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