It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of words. They help me make my living after all. Some of it has to do with the fact that I have a pretty poor vocabulary – I always seem to be writing characters who have a way more developed linguistic sensibility than mine. I’m especially fond of efficient words, single words that do the job of a whole bunch of words:
- paroxysm: any sudden or violent outburst.
Words die every day. In doing work on my Poe adaptation, it’s amazing how many words he uses, that no longer exist. The tag line of The Masque of Red Death is this:
“And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.”
So, what does illimitable mean? And since it’s not a word we see or use every day, do I change it to something teens and middle school students will grasp the meaning of? Do I leave it in and include a definition? Do I leave it and make them figure it out on their own? This is an important sentence and one I’m not interested in losing, but the presence of illimitable is something I’ll have to deal with. (if you feel like guessing, please do! If you know, please share how it’s a part of your vocabulary. If you don’t feel like looking it up, It’ll be posted on our facebook page)
- wittol”” a man who tolerates his wife’s infidelity (a very efficient word)
- supererogate – to do or perform more than is required.
It will be interesting to see what words will stick around in the next 100 years and what ones will be considered obsolete.