Please join us to discuss everything literary (especially kid literary): good books, the writing life, the people and businesses who create books, controversies in book world, what's good to snack on while reading and writing, and anything else bookish. We welcome your thoughts.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Treats in the Treasure Chest

     Sometimes in the midst of a dry spell, or writer's block, or a series of form rejection letters, I like to visit my treasure chest.  It is a worn and dog-eared manila folder of stuff that I have collected over the years because something tickled my fancy in one way or another.  Right now the two things I have revisited most are my list of animal collectives and an old article about Dr. Goodword's compilation of the 100 Funniest Words in English. (The article is from 2009 and also describes his website www.alphadictionary.com)
     I have always been a person who enjoys words for all kinds of reasons - words that rhyme, words that sound silly, words that I have never encountered, or words that would KILL in Scrabble. (Who else would make their dermatologist spell the word 'xiphoid' during an exam?)  I won't pretend that any of you dear readers will become quite as excited by my sharing some of these little gems; just kind of wanted to make sure that you all have treasure chests that you too can take out when you need them the most!
     Some of the the animal collectives I have used, others I just love knowing: the more common murder of crows, gaggle of geese, yoke of oxen, litter of pigs, school of fish, gam of whales, and pride of lions are nice, but how fabulous are these: A troubling of goldfish? a scurry of squirrels? a crash of rhinoceroses? a quiver of cobras? a romp of otters? a tower of giraffes? a kaleidoscope of butterflies? 
     Robert Beard (aka Dr. Goodword), a retired linguistics professor at Bucknell University, compiled the 100 funniest words list since in his opinion the words sounded funny, because they meant something funny, or some combination of the two.  He also likes those words that are one letter away from something naughty, like formication (the sense of ants crawling on your face) or fard (facepaint or makeup).  Here are a few of my favorites:
Collywobbles:  butterflies in the stomach  
Gazump:  to buy something already promised to someone else
Kerfuffle:  nonsense or balderdash
Mumpsimus:  an outdated and unreasonable position on an issue
Pettifogger:  someone who tries to befuddle others with his speech
Slangwhanger:  a loud abusive speaker or obnoxious writer
Vomitory:  an exit or outlet
Wabbit:  exhausted, tired or worn out
     You just can't read these without smiling.  Hence the treasure.
For those interested in a chocolate treasure chest (which might also make you smile), I am including the picture and website recipe of something which came up when I googled treasure chest image... though I can't imagine it only takes 30 minutes to prepare! I think I still prefer my treasures in word form...



  1. I just discovered this great blog. Why do so many of you live on Rt 19? Just wondering.

    1. I knew this had to be your post Andrea before reading the tagline. I love all the fun words and can't wait to check out both the article and the recipe.

      Sheila, we're so glad you found our blog! Thanks for reading. All of us live in neighboring suburbs in which Rt. 19 runs through. We also hold our meetings at a place that is located on Rt. 19.


  2. Andrea,
    Great post, as usual. It got me to thinking, too, as I thought wabbit was another name for Bugs Bunny.