Wonder Words 001

Words are fascinating, aren’t they? I sometimes wonder how certain words came into being, how they entered into the English language. An example of this is: smorgasbord. Sources tell us that it is a compound word derived from the Swiss smörgs, meaning sandwich and bord, table. Have you eaten at a restaurant featuring a sandwich table recently?

A number of years ago I started keeping up with words that made me wonder. I don’t have an elaborate system. Each time a “wonder word” pops up on the page, I flip to the back of the book and jot it down there, usually making note of the page on which it appears. Don’t worry if you loan me a book, though. I don’t make it a habit of marking up books that belong to other people. In such cases I tuck a piece of scrap paper in the book and jot the wonder words on it. I have a stack of these papers in my writing notebook.

Through the years, I’ve read thousands of books. When people pick up a book from one of the shelves in my library and ask me if I’ve read it, I occasionally don’t immediately remember. In such cases, my usual response is to flip to the back of the book and see if there are any words listed there. Interestingly, looking at this list of words often helps me to remember the content of the book.

Well, that’s enough rambling on about words that make us wonder. I just wanted to share a few of the words that made me wonder during my reading last week. Let me know if you are you familiar with these. What are some of the words that make you wonder? By the way, if you wonder about any of these and want to read a definition, just click on the word. Here’s a partial list:

meden agan

Blessings to all,

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
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22 Responses to Wonder Words 001

  1. Neva Cooper says:

    I love words, too. In fact, I even like to read the dictionary (I know I am weird) but one of my favorite words was taught to me by a young AIM assistant named Heather. The word is “difinistrate”

    Good post.
    PS. I was so proud, I knew 12 of your words. Send more sometime.

  2. Neva Cooper says:

    Not Heather, Amy, Sorry.
    BTW–ever played Balderdash? If you like words it is a very fun game.
    Glad you enjoyed the words! Lord willing, I’ll run another list in a few days. Balderdash is a great game, Neva! When my family gets together the kids usually want to play Nertz. It’s a crazy game! When it comes to playing, I’m a very good spectator!

  3. Mark Wilson says:

    I was ziggurating the other day and this man raconteured by. His midden seemed very perspicacious, from what I could see. It irked my redolent cavil. “Harrumph!” I thought. This kind of behaviour is the exact antiphon to the exigencies that we need in society. I walked on explicating inanities quietly to myself.

    hehehe. Just a bit of fun!

    God bless you,

    You’ve seen those spit-takes on television, right? Well, this comment caught me off-guard and I almost spewed coffee all over my computer screen. Thanks for brightening my day, Mark!

  4. Bobby Cohon says:

    Bill, that list of words…….I think I could loose my NC citizenship if I said most of them! 🙂

    Good post brother!


    Just out to have a little fun, Bobby! Hope all is well with you in NC. Speaking of NC, are you a Duke fan? What’s going on with Coach Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils?

  5. Lisa says:

    I was thinking the same thing about VA, Bobby! I only knew 8–I’m very sad about that. I’m always so proud of how many of the definitions I know in Reader’s Digest’s Word Power. Oh well. I guess I’d better study some more (& I thought I was done with that when I graduated).
    Neva, we have Balderdash. It’s a favorite of my husband’s, & of some of our friends & family members. But I am so absolutely horrible at bluffing or making up fake definitions that I am lousy at the game!

    Remember that these are words that I wondered about as I was reading them! Truth be told, my greatest claim to fame with respect to vocabulary is making up new words.

  6. Royce Ogle says:

    What if there were no hypothetical questions?

    We couldn’t hypothecate. It would be more difficult to communicate, harder to concentrate, easier to agitate, harder to speculate, less to congratulate, fewer with with whom to affiliate, less confusion at probate, many less prone to exagerate, fewer to congratulate, not much to anticipate, less in which to participate, no reason to procrastinate,less to negotiate,…zzzzzzzz

    What if my mind was normal?

    Royce Ogle

    This is absotively, posilutely, fantabulous, Royce! Thanks!!

  7. When I’m reading, I usually write the words that surprise me in a separate book. I like the idea of listing them in the back of the book, though. Interesting! Thanks.

    Glad to read your input, Joyce! This is especially encouraging coming from someone who has a second blog called “Excogitation” for posting random thoughts!

  8. Mark Wilson says:

    Fantastic. Your response was even better than I had hoped for! 😀

  9. Mark Wilson says:

    Is this new?

    > Sharing refreshing spiritual thoughts to encourage weary souls in
    > the journey across the parched landscape of human experience into
    > the enjoyed presence of God

    I like it.

    God bless you,

  10. Kathy says:

    Prevenient Grace – wonderful way to express God’s eternal grace showered over us, but sadly heard and taught far more in the Evangelical world than in the CofC’s circles.

    Love words, love your idea of jotting down words in back of books, and [breaking arm patting self on back] I only had to look up two of the words listed, ” meden agan”
    and “Midden” – how have I missed these two more common words? [said while attempting to remove imbeded tongue from cheek] 😉

    Keep ’em coming – more lists – more!! 🙂

    This has been fun, indeed! Also, one of the words came from your blog. I’ll rummage around and see if I can come up with a few more wonder words. I sure have been enjoying your latest round of posts! Grace to you, -bill

  11. DulceDiana says:

    Ok. So Mark got me…


    Mark got you more than once, DulceDiana. Most of these words were taken from a book that he sent me!

  12. Mark Wilson says:

    Ah hahahaha. I’m loving it!

  13. Steve says:

    Interesting list, Bill.

    Peace to you.

    Glad you stopped by, Steve!

  14. Greg England says:

    I won’t even try to top Mark’s response! A few years ago Bruce, an 80-year-old man, was baptized at our church (Calif) and my aunt saw the announcement in our bulletin (she lives in Alabama). She was prompted to write him a note of encouragement and that note started a relationship between these two who LOVE to try and stump each other with some “inane” word. On a given Sunday, Bruce will ask me if I know what a certain word means. They have a lot of fun with it.

    Interesting and very different blog today. Does it count if I knew parts of a word? Such as “anti” or “pre” or “exi”?

    Greg: Nice story about your aunt and Bruce. Glad you shared it with us. You’re right about this being a different post today. Just wanted to have a little fun. BTW, I really enjoyed the interview with Chipper over at Dee’s blog!

  15. Keith Davis says:

    I’ll never see a pair of “middens” on someone’s hands the same way again. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

    Touché, Keith! Also, it makes you wonder how those three little kittens ever lost their middens! Have a great evening!

  16. Martin says:

    Bill, you have the ‘fecundity’ to write interesting posts. Thanks!

    Very clever, Martin. Your dextrous use of one of this week’s vocabulary words is impressive!

  17. cwinwc says:

    Wow, look at all of the pontification on the Entomology of or beloved language. “I are proud.”

    Thanks for the fluorescent comment. Given the meaning of “entomology” I was wondering if one of your colleagues would want to help us dissect these words. BTW, those who are interested in Etymology might find this resource helpful: Online Etymology Dictionary. Aren’t we having having fun?


  18. Trey Morgan says:

    Bill … I’m glad you had definitions for those words. I think I used a couple of those around my mom when I was a kid and I got my mouth washed out with soap.

    Good point, Trey! One must be very careful when tossing syllables around!!

  19. Niki Nowell says:

    Wow! I feel like the token dummy – I only knew 1 of your words! However, when I saw the movie “SAY ANYTHING” as a teenager, I loved the part about the main character and her love of words. Everytime she heard a new word, she looked it up in her gigantesque (real word ;)) dictionary and highlighted it. My friends were thinking, “what a nerd” while I started doing it myself. haha Is that the same as life imitating art?

    Speaking of words, I’m part of a blog tour to promote a book this month. While browsing the site of the lady who kicked off the tour, I came across YOU in her blogroll. We really have to stop finding ways our paths have crossed in this life! 😉

    Blessings Bill!

    There is no doubt about it, Niki. We have certainly traveled on parallel paths–from Fisherman’s Bridge to blog tours! Who would have thunk it? You and your family are in my prayers. Note: If readers would like to take a look at the ministry with which Niki and her husband are working just click HERE. Blessings to you and Benny.

  20. I had no idea I would be increasing my vocabulary today, 🙂

    Bobby Valentine

    We’re just glad you stopped by, Bobby. Hope all is well with you in your new home!

  21. Paul Martin says:


    I only knew like half the words on this list, and I think of myself as having a good vocabulary.

    Unsettling. Maybe I’d go off and have a ziggurat but I never did smoke…

    We are so glad you stopped by, Paul. Having just taken a few minutes to look at your blog, we are thrilled to welcome you to the Spiritual Oasis community. Please do let us know when “Original Faith” is available.

  22. Maggie says:

    What a creative post! I loved it. Thanks for being who you are, Bill!

    You’re welcome, Maggie. Thanks for your encouraging words!

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