Yesterday was my 59th birthday. This picture is of me when I was a year or two younger, and not beating the freelance road to "wealth" (purchase of real hair conditioner) quite so hard. I picked up an interesting book at the local library sale today. Alas, not as interesting as its title, "100 Words Every Word Lover Should Know." (Published 2005, from the editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries.) It flipped open to internecine, a word I've never been sure enough of to actually use. I was looking forward to learning the other 99 words. (I outgrew the Reader's Digest vocab words ago.) So, based on that one word, internecine, I bought the book only to sadly discover that word lovers apparently don't know the following words. Do you know them all too? alchemy anachrosism (not kidding you) cappuccino chortle desultory detritus hiatus insouciant facetious fecundity egregious I need my money back don't I? Now I'm going to see how many I can find that are usable and I don't know them: didjeridoo--A musical instrument of the Aboriginal people (not too usable) Wait, I found one: litotes, "A figure of speech consisting of an understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite as in, "I showed him over the establishment, not omitting the pantry, with no little pride, and he commended it highly. (Dickens, "David Copperfield") Good Scrabble word perhaps. Another, nictitate (nik'titat) intransitive verb: To wink. Who's pretentious enough to use that one I wonder? Here's an unusual word I don't know: humuhumunukunukuapuaa. Hint: It's a noun. Of course you want to go out and use it right away but the problem is that this word for word lovers is either of two triggerfishes native to the outer reefs of Hawaii. Damn! And I was almost as happy seeing this word on the page as I was the day I discovered a word with a built in "ha ha": brouhaha. I expected way more from the editors of popular dictionaries, who, for all practical purposes, should have long lists of less common words for those seeking to enrich their vocabularies. Well, I just found the price of admission: sesquipedalian, adj., and I can honestly say I appreciate this word for "1. given to or characterized by the use of long words. 2. Polysyllabic. I can even imagine using it in places where I don't care if I'm pretentious as long as I impress; e.g. "I don't mean to be sesquipedalian, but have you ever seen a humuhumunukunukuapuaa?" If any of you have good 75 cent words that not everyone knows, and that can actually be used in conversation or writing, please add them to comments below. The winner of the best word or words can have the useless word book I bought today to give to someone in need, like a child.

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