Saturday, November 1, 2008

Natural speakers, new words

I heard a new word yesterday! Well, not exactly. The thing is, I've heard it before several times throughout my lifetime, but the frequency was spaced so far apart that I never devoted the memory resources to cataloging it away in the mental archives. Oh, brain, you're such a fickle organ.

However, I heard it twice last night. The first time it was mentioned, my mind became vaguely aware of its general meaning. The context wasn't robust enough to give me confidence enough to use it myself. Still, I subconsciously filed it away for future reference.

If it had been like so many of those other times when a word is heard once, then not heard again for months, it might have been completely lost; but randomness intervened, and gave it to me once again, hours later. Again, the word was used in context that by itself would not have been enough information about the definition to use. But my subconscious intervened and put the two contexts together, forming a rugged outline of a definition that I would be comfortable using, and inserted the word into my mental dictionary, hopefully for some time to come.

That my definition of the word may actually be slightly, or largely different from the users I've heard use the word is another topic...


LoveAndBeer said...


What word? :)

Shin Seven said...

Misogynist was the word.

It's worth noting the inescapable feeling that I should've known the word before now - the definition it covers certainly isn't foreign. Maybe it has something to do with the culture I was raised in, and the lack of use there.