Friday, July 10, 2009

Scrabble Games Just Got A Lot More Interesting

The new dictionary is out. Or rather, the codicils to the Merriam-Webster American dictionary have been officially released and I don’t want to sound like a dork or anything but since I don’t really hide it all that well anyway, what the hell, I love when Merriam-Webster appends their tome with additions. It makes me giddy to add even one word to my arsenal let alone fifteen or more at a time. If anyone ever wondered what to get me for a gift think huge, antique, hard cover dictionary (an 1828 first edition would be great, especially if it smells like a 180 year old book).

This year, thanks to popular culture, I can finally add frenemy and staycation as official words. There are others but these two are my favorites at the moment. Their irony of existence pulls at the very strings that attach my heart to my keyboard. Funny, of course MS Word does not yet recognize them, what with that little red squiggle underneath. Let me go ahead and fix that now. Right click, add to dictionary. Ah, that’s better. And I can do it without feeling as if I have added some made up word because they are not. They are real, Webster said so.

Okay truthfully they are made up, completely fabricated in fact but aren’t all words just something someone said once and it caught on? I wonder how many words were even in that originally printed version of the Merriam-Webster’s in 1828 as compared to today’s version. In the past half century alone I imagine the dictionary to have at least doubled due to all the rapidly changing technical terms out there, never mind all that stuff having to do with the Green movement and hip-hop.

Both of these newly contrived words that I love are catchy. Both of these words were flung into the annals of popular culture as meaningful. Both words are what happen when oxymorons get in on in the back seat of their father’s Caddy, while enjoying some Reggaeton, and then produce a love child. In this case, when they say opposites attract they are truly accurate.

Frenemy. A word birthed by the contrasting parents of friend and enemy. Its definition is when someone acts to be a friend although they are in truth an enemy. One might not understand how this word even came to be or what caused it to enter popular speech. Off the top I can remember a Sex and the City episode entitled “Frenemies”, looking it up the episode aired in 2000 but, according to the Wiki on this word, it may have been in print as early as 1959. Way to celebrate your golden birthday by being officially added to the dictionary, frenemy. Way to go!

Then there is staycation. This word, the bastard child of stay and vacation, is possibly the grandest of all oxymorons. When taken literally that is. I have taken plenty of vacations from jobs where I fully intended to do nothing more than enjoy a week at home catching up around the house making scrapbooks or other things I never have time to complete otherwise, its just that someone finally granted this activity with an official name. This one has apparently only been around for six years; just a babe in linguistic terms.

I suppose that attempting to play either of these words in Scrabble will be a challenge if I were to play with my Mom who is a stickler to the official Scrabble dictionary but by next year I could have my very own copy of the shiny new Merriam-Webster edition which shows them plainly in black and white; undisputable as real words to even the most hardened player. Worth fifteen points each in their pure format, I will surely do my best to ensure I land either of them on a triple word score. And hey, if frenemy comes in one fail swoop I get that bonus fifty. Now that’s a score worth vlogging about.


Bridgete said...

The Scrabble dictionary doesn't have slang terms because Scrabble rules don't allow slang, no matter how popular it is. I'm going to bet that both those terms will be listed as slang in Merriam-Webster. ;)

CinLynn Boutique said...

Love your ideas for words. I think we could all add something to that.

Karen said...

I love words, too. I collect old books and I have a Winston Dictionary 1939 and a Funk & Wagnalls 1925 which belonged to my grandfather. I *love* the smell of these old books!

LillyShayStyle said...

I've never put much thought into the dictionary and words. But it really is interested when and which words they add in.
We'll see about scrabble, ha!

Almost Precious said...

Language changes along with culture and society...even if it does take Webster awhile to recognize and accept it. Wouldn't want to rush into anything, it might just be a passing trend, or maybe a "trad" something that's halfway between a trend and a fad! ,)

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

@Bridgete leave it to you to completely dash my dreams for using frenemy for 95 points lol. You & my mom would play great Scrabble matches, we're a bit more lax in this house haha!

@Beadnik yes I love what others make up for words, always fun

@Karen oh cool!! You'll have to send me some photos of those, I so love old books! I have Popular Poets & Poetry of Ireland published in 1887 with gold edged pages and a glorious hard cover. My Grandparents were quite the avid book collectors too!

@Lilly I highly recommend Scrabble of course I am a word dork so take that for what its worth lol

@Anna haha! I love that you enjoyed this, I wrote it last night before I read & commented on your frigorific post so I figured you'd get a kick out of it :-) I'm using trad from now on haha!

Judi FitzPatrick said...

It will be interesting to see if they are considered slang or not. Since frenemy has been around for 50 years, it may not be sland - we shall see.
So when is our next Scrabble game?? ;-)
Love you, Mum

Theresa said...

Leave it to you Jenn to keep me abreast of all things Webster. Thanks.

I wonder when blogosphere will make it into the "Book". Yep, I just got the red squiggly line under that word:(

ginger said...

i often use staycation...frenemy is good too.

haha - you're a dictionary dork. :) xoxoxoxo

Rosebud Collection said...

Scrabble is such a good game.
Laughed about the slang words..Have to admit, I make up a few words of my own. The only difference, my family is the only one that understands me.

Our newest grandchild is going to be a girl, named after husband..I already have a little one with my name.