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  • Writer's pictureD. Randall Faro

A World of Words

The sophisticated use of language is unique to people. To be sure, other animals communicate, but not even close to the complexity and intricacy of that used by human beings. We are the species that lives in a world of words.

The world of words has always fascinated me, especially since as a theologian my professional life has been built around it. I have been a wordsmith for over five decades, and still marvel at the creative ways we put letters together to convey thoughts. It always excites me to learn a new (for me) word, especially one that might be found useful in my writing and speaking.

Lek. I was not aware of that term, and, unless you are into birding or upland bird hunting, my guess is that this one might be new for you as well. A lek is an area where birds gather during the breeding season for community courtship displays to attract mates, sage grouse being a good example. (Thanks to C.J. Box’s book, Endangered, for this revelation.)

Obelus. Math majors probably know this, but I never ran across it at seminary. Obelus is the word for the division symbol ÷. It was also used in ancient manuscripts to mark a questionable passage.

Pyknic. Students of human anatomy likely know this word. They’re all around us, but betcha you didn’t know this term applied to them. Pyknic means relating to or denoting a stocky physique with a rounded body and head, thickset trunk, and a tendency to be fat.

We could go on and on. But you get the idea.

The point: increasing one’s vocabulary can be a never-ending joy which stimulates the brain and is often practically useful. If in reading you come across an unfamiliar word, look it up. These new learnings just might help decrease your argle-bargle.

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