Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Editing for Grammarphobes: What Does It Mean?


Some words have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years and are now tossed about freely, sometimes almost overdone. But what do they really mean?

Get ready. It’s vocabulary time. (Don’t worry. There will not be a quiz on Friday.)

All of the definitions are courtesy of the Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary and Dictionary.com.


Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist means “the general intellectual, moral and cultural climate of an era.”

Example 

John Steinbeck captured the zeitgeist of migrant workers in The Grapes of Wrath. 


Pedantic

This word is “stodgy, narrow and often ostentatiously or pretentiously learned.”

Example

Some people dismiss grammar rules as pedantic, yet fail to remember they need them for effective communication.



Esoteric 

Esoteric means “designed for or understood by the specially initiated alone;” such as those who have special knowledge of the topic.

Example 

Poetry is filled with esoteric allusions, including those from Greek or Roman mythology. 


Pedagogue 

From the Greek, pedagogue originally was a “slave who escorted children to school.” It has since been broadened to its present definition of “teacher, schoolmaster or tutor.”

Example 

The pedagogue lectured on Edmund’s subplot in Shakespeare’s King Lear. 


Cacophony 

A cacophony is a “harsh discordance of sound, dissonance, or a discordant and meaningless mixture of sounds.” “A harshness in sound of words or phrases,” if you will.

Example 

The constant cacophony of the traffic below drove Zelda to shut her windows. 



So, are you ready to incorporate any of these into your vocabulary? They are great words, don’t you think? I will be doing another vocabulary lesson on Monday, which will include words the political pundits blather on about every day.



We Have a Winner 

Congratulations to Jeanne Tomlin who won the I HEART Books giveaway and will be receiving a Kindle copy of A Whisper to a Scream.



Coming Friday 

Flash Fiction Fridays will feature a lovely story by Margaret Lake. You will not want to miss it.

No comments: