Reub's journey

20 September 2011

Love words? Help me.

The word jumped out at me like a loose squirrel.

After a viral infection artist Lonni Sue Johnson lost her memory. Her complex art had been featured in The New Yorker & many other books and publications. Her recovery is centered around her art, which has changed somewhat but still retains elements of what it was. She has become fascinated with word searches.
I was reading the amazing story of Lonni Sue Anderson this morning when I became hopelessly side-tracked, off on a tangent and planning an activity to do with a mob of 12 year olds.
By all means go back and check out Lonni's story, but first help me. Here's my idea:

1. Compile a list of odd words. (I do have some well-read students, but I hope they don't know everything just yet.)
2. Each kid picks a word from the hat and illustrates it without knowing what the real definition is. This is a kind of cross between Pictionary and the Dictionary Game.

Here is my list so far, some words stranger than others.

hippocampus, stevedor, bamboozle, roustabout, gerrymander, carpetbagger, philistine, scalawag, boondoggle, muckraker, pompadour, bellhop, haberdashery, paw-paw, peckish, fulgent, leviathan, amalgamate, epee, buteo, serendipity, flibbertigibbet, halcyon, desiccant, probiscus, proboscis, hibiscus, treacle, mahout

I bet there is an on-line list of words like these, but it's more fun to think of them on my own. Or accept suggestions!

I'm listening....


  1. How about hogwash, moot, mishmash. I'm thinking for more, and will send them when they come to me.

  2. Excellent, Merry! Especially "moot."

    Just don't give me "hornswoggle" & if you want to know why, look it up in the Urban Dictionary! What a mistake to make with 12 year olds.

  3. FUN! how about...filibuster, loquacious, tintinnabulation, behemoth...i just listed 3 more that you already had on your list...i'll have to keep thinking! and i think "probiscus" is "probOscus", if you're talking about noses or the appendage through which a butterfly slurps its nectar...

  4. Like a proboscus monkey!! That's right! What's probiscus? I'm gonna change it to hibiscus. And proboscus.

    I love all of y'all's words. Keep 'em coming.

  5. I love all the word suggestions!

    I like recalcitrant, obstreperous, alliteration, ascerbic, pontificate. I could go on and on.

  6. insouciant, flabbergast, puce, tarantella. supercilious, nincompoop, gyrate. kerfuffle.

    a curse upon you, kb...i'll never get to sleep tonight...

  7. nefarious, posthumous, petrichor (the smell of rain on dry ground...isn't that lovely, that there is a word for that?), limpid...please tell me when to stop...truncate, popliteal...

  8. oh curses! that wasn't Dan at all! it was me! me! me!


  9. Funicular! Tempest! Plethora! THANK YOU Debbie! I love this.


  10. Merry, Reya, TWG, Slim: thank you for pitching in. Feel free to keep adding to the list! I wanted to add "apothecary" but I've been reading The Hunger Games (which most of my students have read) and the word shows up multiple times in the first 20 pages. I like it that they know this word.

    I love this word play.

  11. I just learned a "new" one - oobleck!

  12. Oobleck is a soquid. There is no reason for me to know this.

  13. Tomfoolery, titivation, transubstantiation, trappist .

    Any good?

  14. Omg this is a great idea!!!!! ummmm......ummmmmm...... I cant think of anything better then your word flibbertigibbet. HAHAHAHA! I love that word. :D

  15. Rumbunctious - overtly exuberant or boisterous!!

    The Brown Habanero Chipotle sauce (try saying Chipotle in a broad Yorkshire accent, i cant stop doing so) has been delved into by myself and my friends. Its hugely addictive. Plus, i made round two of tacos and they came out as guess what...? REAL TACOS!!!!!

    You are my sole inspiration!!!

    Happy Word Gaming

    Saul x

  16. I also love Peripatetic cos i think it embodies me somewhat!!


  17. Friko: Excellent! Tomfoolery is A-1. I had to look up titivation, a new word for me: to spruce up. I'll add this to the list and hope I don't get a dirty drawing out of it!

    Saul: "Rumbunctious" is what happens to a pirate on a bender!

    I'm trying as hard as I can to hear you say "chipotle" in your fabulous voice, that Yorkshire accent. Chipotle itself is a word I can add no matter who is saying it!

    Peripatetic rhymes with antimagnetic and psychokinetic.

  18. I think it's a great idea. The teacher in me wants to then explain what the word actually means. Surly.

  19. Elliot: You have a teacher in you? Oh no!! We better do something about that: the teacher in you is invited to visit my classroom on the day after we do these drawings, b/c that's when I'm going to have to cough up the definition and pronunciation of a whole lot of words I only marginally know. Because of course you're right; eventually the real meanings must come out.

    Surly is good. I also stole two words from your poem:
    wimple and Matterhorn.

  20. I keep an actual list of my favorite words, Kerry, not so much for their meaning, but for the way they roll off the tongue. I happen to love saying "vivisection" and "obstreperous" and "lollygag," just to name a few.

  21. Waiting to hear how the lesson went.


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