I collect words the way a friend collects bits of sea glass and the way a nephew looks for examples of graffiti that speak to him.
Words speak to me even though the only place I've "heard" some of them is on a page. I get a kick out of old words that have fallen out of favor, regionalisms, cooking terms, and slang.
Last week, hackers broke into the computers of the LivingSocial online deal site and accessed customer data, including encrypted passwords. The notice I received about the event didn't alarm me as much as it should have because I was charmed, yes, charmed by LivingSocial's reassurance that it had "hashed and salted" those passwords. Apparently, "hash" means to encrypt and "salt" means to add a string of random data to an encrypted password. (I hope no one reading this plans to deliver bad news to me anytime soon, but if you must, forget the spoonful of sugar and give it to me with a new use for a familiar word.)
Yesterday, friend Lynn Kelley wrote the following on a loop I follow: "My other comment was getting too long, so I'm bogarting the space here. Making up for lost time. :)"
Bogarting? I loved the word even though I didn't know what it meant. (Is it possible to fall for a word that means nothing to you? Think of the first time you heard someone speak Spanish, French, or Italian. Didn't you melt a little inside?)
Here's the Urban Dictionary's definition of the verb bogart: (slang verb) To keep something all for oneself, thus depriving anyone else of having any. A slang term derived from the last name of famous actor Humphrey Bogart because he often kept a cigarette in the corner of his mouth, seemingly never actually drawing on it or smoking it. Often used with weed or joints but can be applied to anything.
In other words, Lynn was hogging or monopolizing the space. (But, of course, she wasn't doing anything of the sort because her posts are always welcome.)
Finally, last week, Older Daughter emailed me an article entitled "Slash: Not Just a Punctuation Mark Anymore." (If you've read this far, you, too, are a word junkie, so go look at the article.)
The use of a slash to link two related constructions is commonplace. Saturday morning is as good a time as any to run errands/get gasoline. As Anne Curzan points out, however, her college students now write out "slash." Saturday morning is as good a time as any to run errands slash get gasoline. Better still, they use "slash" to link two unrelated words in an ironic way. I won't get home from work slash hell before seven p.m.
How about you? Have you come across a new word or an old one used in a new way? Do you, like me, consider yourself a deep thinker slash real-work avoider? Let me know in the comments section slash proof I'm not talking to myself.