Friday, February 17, 2006

Word of the Day

I can admit pretty easily that I'm a total word-nerd. Not that this is going to surprise anyone. After all, I do a bit of writing on the side.

Part of my daily routine is looking up the word of the day on Merriam-Webster. In and of itself, this is probably not too weird. But that's not where the story ends.

See, I have a little game I like to play with the word of the day, provided the word is suitable. I like to see how many words I can make out of the word of the day. My completely arbitrary rules are as follows:

- Words must be at least 4 letters in length.
- Words in the past tense are allowed.
- Pluralizations are not allowed UNLESS it is a plural of a 3-letter word. (And even then, I think it's a lame way to score points so I usually don't bother.)
- Words must appear in the dictionary.
- There's no time limit, but I usually exhaust the obvious possibilities and move on in about 5 minutes. 10 if it's a huge word.

What makes a word of the day suitable for my game? Lots of letters is a good indicator of suitability. Having an A, E, and good consonants like T, R, S, and H also help. Sometimes, a long word will only yield 15 or 20 words while a shorter word will yield 40 or 50. If a word contains a Q, X, or Z, it's much more challenging, but I don't score myself higher for unusual words.

Yesterday's word was fantastic, both for its meaning and for its surprising suitability for my game.

The Word of the Day for February 16 is:

• \PIK-suh-lay-tud\ • adjective

1 : somewhat unbalanced mentally; also : bemused
2 : whimsical

You might be thinking "Huh? I thought that was going to have something to do with computers." Yeah, that's what I thought too, until I read the explanation of where the word comes from. Since I have a special affinity for pixies and faeries, I think that pixilated is now, officially, my favourite single word in the English language.

At first, I dismissed the word as suitable for my game because it's not long, it has an X, and it doesn't have many "stackable" consonants. (You know, like S, T and R can be used as ST, TR, and STR.) Then, I decided to give it a go. I came up with 43 words, which made me happy.

So, if you want to play along, post a comment with your words. See if you can beat 43. The winner gets a post card from my next travel destination - Venice and Slovenia. In a week, I will post my 43 words.


At 18 February 2006 at 00:34, Blogger John Corrigan said...

Anne, you caught me in a geeky mood, and the word was super for the game. I managed 50 words:

ailed, aped, apex, axed, axle
dale, date, deal, dealt, detail
dial, diet, exalt, exit, laid
late, leap, lied, lipid, paid
pail, pale, paled, palid, pate
peal, pelt, pied, pile, piled
pixel, pixie, plaid, plait, plaited
plate, plated, pleat, plied, tail
tailed, tale, tape, taped, taxed
taxi, teal, tied, tile, tiled

At 19 February 2006 at 21:37, Blogger -Ann said...

Wow John! I really didn't think anyone would be able to beat me. Good job.

At 22 February 2006 at 22:44, Blogger John Corrigan said...

Well, I did say that you caught me in a geeky mood, Ann. Though, I should have held off a while as nobody else posted their word lists. Looking forward to the postcard ;-)

At 26 February 2006 at 17:34, Blogger -Ann said...

Hey John-

Here are the words I had that you didn't have:
adept, alit, dilate, expat, latex, lead, pita, plie, tilde

Here are the words you had that I didn't have:
dealt, detail, leap, lied, pelt, pied, piled, plated, tailed, tape, taped, taxi, tied, tiled

(I think my favourite is pied.)

Drop me an email with your address and I'll make sure you get a post card.


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