It was quiet at work today so I filled in some time donating rice to hungry people through www.freerice.com. For those of you who haven't heard of it, for every word you pick the correct meaning of, the site's advertisers pay for 20 grains of rice to be donated through the UN's food program.
It's quite challenging, even for those who consider themselves to have a pretty good vocabulary (like me), although educated guessing can take you a long way. Today I donated about 4000 grains of rice. Go, me!
What amused me though was a couple of the words that cropped up. The first was 'meshuga'. I had never heard this word until Monday when a friend of a friend mentioned a death metal band he saw called Meshuga. It didn't occur to me that it actually meant anything, but here it was popping up today freerice.com! It means 'crazy'.
The second word was "quotidian". I knew the meaning of this, but had never before stopped to think how pleasing it is that it describes the opposite of what it is - commonplace, usual or occuring daily. Don't know about you, but it's not a word I hear or use often.
Pulchritude is similar - it means physical beauty but sounds like a synonym for ugly or evil.
I also like the word sesquipedalian because it IS what it describes - a long word. It makes me think of my friend Luke, a self-confessed "word nerd" who first told me about it.
Do you know of any other words that have contrary definitions or words that are what they describe (well, apart from onomatopoeia)?