Monday, July 18, 2011

Take my word for it

Taking advice from health experts who remind us to learn new things to keep our brains supple, I have acquired—but, alas, not learned—a number of new words by playing Boggle. That is, I’ve exclaimed “That’s a word?” after hitting a series of three letters by accident. Sometimes it’s no accident, but I’ve exhausted all the words I know and I start hitting letters with desperation. Here are the ones I now use most often:

ain, ait, alt, ane, ava, dan, del, dev, het, lev, oda, ora, ree, ret, tae, ted, taw, tew, tun

String them together, and I may sound like I’m speaking Erse (that’s a word I’ve learned from crossword puzzles, along with adit and sere).

This would be helpful if I took a few minutes to look up these unfamiliar words. I’d be exercising my brain and learning something new, however nearly useless. But I don’t. I’m sure that if I get bored some day, I’ll do just that…No, I’ll do better than that. For the sake of this post, I’ll take the time to see what a few of these words mean—in case you were dying to know.

ain: a Scottish word for own or the 18th letter of the arabic alphabet

tun: a large cask for holding liquids, especially wine, ale, or beer

taw: a fancy marble used as a shooter (I was pretty sure it didn’t refer to Tweety Talk, as in “I taw a puddy tat”)

tae: a Scottish word for to, too, or toe (as in English, the word multi-tasks)

lev: a coin and monetary unit of Bulgaria, equal to 100 stotinki (drop that at the next cocktail party and watch the crowd thin out around you)

oda: a room within a harem (I doubt I'll be using that one in a sentence anytime soon)

I’m not sure any of our lives are richer for knowing these terms. I do know, though, that using them with some other word games is of no value. Word Warp—a new way I’ve found to waste my time—doesn’t recognize most of them.