Th is for Thesauraus

I enjoy alliteration. I admit, however, it can be annoying, if over done. In fact, if one over uses alliteration, it can stink like a Norwegian codfish that’s been dipped in lye, or like a German cheese that leaves residue on the moustache(1) and is part of an old Hardy Boys mystery.

So, I’ve been thinking of ways to alert my readers to the type of posts that may occur on any given day of the week. For example, Monday memories, or Musical Mondays. Tuesdays could be for Technical reviews or posts on teaching, or Travel. It isn’t only for the annoyance or interest of you all, either, dear reader. It is also a helpful writing starter for me, and a way to both corral the wandering kittens, so to speak, and relate what I write to Ruminations on Righteousness, Rural Life, and Rearing Children. I may do that, but this being Thursday, and Tuesday being piggish about the letter “T”, I thought to myself, “Well, there’s Theology. That could work. I could write a post on ‘Thoughtfulness’. There’s that. Oh, but wait, how about a wordsy post related to the Thesaurus. I love dictionaries, and words. Maybe….”

It turns out, and I had forgotten this, that back a few centuries, thesaurus did have the sense of “dictionary or encyclopedia”, since it comes “via Latin from Greek thēsauros”, meaning ‘storehouse, or treasure’. (Apparently, the publication of Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases in 1852 upended 300 years of precedent. Thank you, for that, Oxford Dictionaries. “So”, I thought, “Perfect for Thursdays. A good way to ease into Friday.” 

Now, along those lines, I have noticed a British influence in my spelling over the years. (Since, almost ironically, one may go to the dictionary to find out how to spell a word, sans search engine, of course. But the rub is having to know how to spell it to find it in the listing. It’s a cruel method, but one eventually masters certain irregular words.) So, I might be typing a post, like this one, and the editor flags my spelling of “moustache” (like it just did, and like it did above). No, I’m sure that’s how to spell it. It turns out, that’s the British spelling. And, it looks right to me. So too, do the words, “neighbour”, and “colour”. Growing up in an American public school system, I used to wonder where I had seen the British spellings. Ah, and then it me! Of course! It was church, with the King James English of the King James Bible.

I’m not likely to change certain spellings, no matter what the word processor (itself an aging phrase) tells me. First, because I’m know I’m right, in some sphere of the world. Secondly, because it looks better. Aesthetics matter.

As to how this relates to my tagline, the dictionary and the now modern thesaurus is a helpful tool in rearing children. Although, the curiosity of my boys brings them to me or my wife with a question or desire for explanation on a word or phrase, and we sometimes provide that verbal answer, I often tell them to look it up. And by “look it up”, I mean the behemoth Webster’s beside the chair in my bedroom.

What topics interested you, as you stumbled upon this blog? What words do you find unusual in English (or other languages)? Until next Thesaurus, I mean Thursday, I’ll be thinking of some other fun examples.

Tomorrow is “Family Friday”.