Friday, 21 December 2007

A.W.A.D. - Yours to Discover

Why did I select the five words that will be featured this week?

Well, I can tell you at the beginning that they have nothing in common. Not in their meanings, not in their origins, not their pronunciations, or anything else. But there was a reason I chose them. What was it?

Put on your sleuthing caps and see if you can figure it out. If you think you've got it, email your answer to (puzzle at wordsmith.org). One answer per person, please. The first reader to uncover the plot will receive anautographed copy of my new book "The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words". So will another reader randomly selected from all the correct answers.

anthropomorphize
(an-thruh-puh-MOR-fyz) verb tr., intr.
To attribute human qualities to things not human.

[From Greek anthropo- (human) + morph (form).]

Kafkaesque
(kaf-ka-ESK) adjective
Complex or illogical in a bizarre, surreal, or nightmarish manner.

[After the Czech author Franz Kafka (1883-1924), who depicted such fictional worlds in his novels.]

dysphagia
(dis-FAYJ-uh, -jee-uh) noun
Difficulty in swallowing.

[From Greek dys- (bad, difficult) + phagein (to eat).]

excursive
(ik-SKUR-siv) adjective
Tending to wander off; rambling.

[From Latin excurrere (to run out), from ex- (out) + currere (to run). Ultimately from the Indo-European root kers- (to run) that's also the source of car, career, carpenter, occur, discharge, and caricature. Why caricature? Because a caricature is a loaded or distorted picture of someone.]
Why did I select these words (anthropomorphize, kafkaesque, excursive,dysphagia and jabberwocky) this week? If you know the answer, email it to (puzzle at wordsmith.org). One answer per person, please. The first reader to uncover the plot will receive an autographed copy of my new book "The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words". So will another reader randomly selected from all the correct answers.
jabberwocky
(JAB-uhr-wok-ee) noun
Meaningless speech or writing.
[After Jabberwocky, a nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll which was part of his novel Through the Looking Glass (1871).]

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