Saturday, February 17, 2007

Feeding My Inner Nerd

As if I don't get enough emails, I willingly receive Michael Quinion's always amusing and entertaining weekly newsletter, "World Wide Words." Every Saturday he regales me (okay, not just me—45,000 other subscribers as well) with fascinating tidbits about the words we use. Want to know what on earth the phrase "with bated breath" actually means? Quinion's your man.

Today's edition referenced the word, um, "referenciness." For reasons that should be obvious to any member of the Colbert Nation, when I saw that I had to keep reading. Turns out that Quinion and others spotted the word last week in a story in The Guardian questioning the credentials of a British TV personality who purports to be a nutritional authority. In the article Dr. Ben Oldacre wrote:
The scholarliness of her work is a thing to behold: she produces lengthy documents that have an air of "referenciness" ... but when you follow the numbers, and check the references, it's shocking how often they aren't what she claimed them to be.
Goldacre acknowledged that Stephen Colbert's signature word—truthiness—was indeed his inspiration in coining the word "referenciness."

I want to coin a word. I want to create a word so clever, so witty, and so useful that it will make it into our everyday lexicon. I want to be cited in the Oxford English Dictionary as the first person to ever use this unknown word I have yet to coin. And I promise, when I do coin this word, you will be the first to know.

This is how I feed my inner nerd, ingesting random facts about words. (Oh, and watching The Weather Channel. Can't forget that.) Anyway, if you've come up with a great word but don't want to admit you're a word nerd, will you let me have it? I will forever express my gratitudiness.


John Michael De Marco said...

Marcia, stop making me think so much!!! No, don't stop, really. I need a few minutes to decide.

Hey, I actually posted a new comment on my blog today. It had been a month. How sorry is that?


Teresa Markos said...

Aren't words just delicious?

Marcia Ford said...

Yes, they are! Hey, how can I get some of your music? I love what I've heard!