Word Nerd

I imagine it is my mother’s fault that I’m a word nerd and grammar geek. She gave me a grammar book to read (for fun) when I was in first grade. At that time she was occasionally substitute teaching as a high school English teacher and teaching English 101 night classes. She sometimes brought me with her.

In high school, I had a red Webster’s dictionary. Whenever I came across a word when I was reading and couldn’t give a good definition (even if I sort of knew the word), I would look it up, and write down the definition on an index card. In the margin of the dictionary, I’d note the date I looked it up — or looked it up again. I wish I still had that dictionary.

My husband won’t play Scrabble or Boggle with me. Mostly it is because he prefers strategy and war games. But it is also because I’m a good loser but a gleeful winner — and I almost always win word games.

I recently ordered Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary for my homeschooling kids. (Look up words online for free at websterdictionary1828.com.)

But really, who am I kidding? It’s for me.

One perk of homeschooling little kids is that I’m constantly reading aloud to them — and coming across words I don’t know or have to look up to accurately explain to them. Just this week? Bobance, cock-shies, balustrade, puttees, capacious, esgal, quoit.

My favorite podcast is The History of English Podcast, hosted by Kevin Stroud. It is more of a history podcast than a grammar or etymological podcast, and I love it. When my 8yo has growing pains at night and I snuggle with him, we listen to it together. I like to think I’m passing on my word nerdiness to him, like my mother did with me.