Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Helping the hungry through words


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)?

5 comments:

Julian said...

Okay, I hadn't heard this one before:

polemarch means:

# military commander


I like this idea! I'm going to have leave it at 260 until tomorrow though, because I have -got- to go to bed. ;|

Maybe it'll help prepare me for the Couchsurfing bbq and board games event I'm going to in the city on Sat. ;) (At least one person is bringing Scrabble.)

Also, am I alone in missing Boggle? I haven't played that game in -years-. ;|

Victoria said...

No Julian, I miss Boggle too :)

I love Free Rice jayne, i get sooooo sucked in, i can be on it for hours hahaha...i can't above Level 49 words though dammit!

Glee Girl said...

Hi Julian. Polemarch is a new one on me too! The couchsurfing and board games night sounds like great fun and yay for Scrabble! Let me know how it goes.

Oooh, just as I was typing this you posted a comment on my new blog!

Boggle...hmmm...I can't remember it so clearly I don't miss it! Victoria below does, so you aren't alone.

And hello Victoria. Yep, I have trouble stopping once I'm on freerice.com too. I can think of many less worthy ways to fill a couple of hours on the 'puter!

Julian said...

Jayne: One of the ones that caught my eye today (I can't seem to get past 44 very often at the moment) was:

lapidate = throw stones at

Reminds me of defenestrate: it always amused me that there was actually a specific word for that (and I'm guessing you already know this, but it means to throw out of a window ;) ).

Actually, it's an afternoon thing in Flagstaff Gardens, which'll be extra nice seeing as I missed out on that gloriously sunny day last Sat. :) (I'm making sure not to take any games with really small pieces, though!)

Victoria: Great. Nice to know I'm not the only one. ;)

Julian said...

glee girl: "The couchsurfing and board games night sounds like great fun and yay for Scrabble! Let me know how it goes."

As it turned out, nobody even brought it! (Or they didn't offer it, if they did.) There were only two games in the end. I was responsible for Pictionary, which people had fun with. No really hilarious moments this time around, though. (I brought Playdough as an alternative to pencil and paper, but it was never used in the one game we played, despite initial curiosity. It actually works rather well. :) ).

On the subject of games, I played croquet at a friend's afternoon thingy today, which was a bit of fun (hadn't played it in -years-). :)