Wednesday, September 26, 2018

From Macrons to Macaroons... too many similar words!

On Facebook the other day, I posted:

Mmmm, for an evening snack, I had a single tasty lemony macaron! (Not to be confused with a macaroon, which is coconut, or a Macron, which is a president of France.)
One friend responded with this helpful image, for those who are visual:

Other comments added to the entertainment value of words whose spelling and/or pronunciation are reminiscent of each other, so the final list (at least, so far) is:

  • Macarena (a dance)
  • Macron (the president of France)
  • macron (a mark indicating a long vowel)
  • macaron (a layered cookie)
  • macaroon (a coconut cookie)
  • maroon (color)
  • maroon (as in Bugs Bunny saying, "what a maroon")
  • moron (similar in meaning to what Bugs is saying)
I'm sure that there are more.  No wonder young children can easily become confused when learning new vocabulary--and adults, too!

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Vocabulary from Other Places and Times

One fun thing about reading books written in different times or places is the vocabulary. Sometimes I scribble the interesting ones down. Some I've heard before but not often; some I haven't. From Northwest Passage (so far), written in 1937 about life in New England and elsewhere in North American in the latter 1700s:
  • ropewalk 
  • mensurations 
  • towcloth
  • furbelowed 
  • gundelos with lateen sails 
  • "as thick as bones in a shad"

And more fun words and phrases, from Nevil Shute's Pastoral, written in England in 1944:
  • deal (noun used as an adjective, as in, "the deal wash stand", "a deal chair")
  • batwoman (not Batwoman)
  • hutment 
  • roach bag (I think this was literal, as in bait for fishing)
  • gentles (in relation to fishing)
  • "it had been wizard!"
Internet will reveal all--relax and enjoy the searches and all the fun things you'll learn within just a few minutes!--good places to start are:

  •, a whole collection of dictionaries.  Merriam-Webster particular for American and Collins particularly for British/Commonwealth
  • Wikipedia, info on so very very many things
What interesting words have you encountered lately while reading?