Slice of Life Story Day 18 Let’s Hear It For Wonderful Words

Writers collect words. It is almost compulsive. I have always had a fascination for words.  If we can get the right word in the right place, you can give the reader a nudge and make then pay extra attention. For this reason alone words deserve our respect.

I recently saw the word –skedaddle in a story. It’s a word I recall from my childhood, but I had neither seen or heard it for yonks (an indeterminate yet substantial period of time). I love the sound of skedaddle. I have been sharing it with young writers recently in the hope I can singlehandedly revive its use in common conversation.

I vividly recall reading Colin Theile’s wonderful short story ‘The Lock Out’ to a Grade 6 class I taught some years back and coming across the words ‘agog’ and ’gingerly.’
 I wrote them on the board, and we discussed them and savoured the sounds they made. I encouraged the students to try and use them in their writing. In time these special words along with others began to appear in their writing. They grew like flowers. Magically bursting through into the light,- blossoming on the page. We developed a place for those special words we came across in our reading and discussion. We called the words ‘Wonder Words.’ It was a way of paying homage to the rich meaning these words conveyed

Another word that has always fascinated me is segue. It is common in conversation but largely unseen in print. If you don’t believe me ask people to spell it and see what happens. They say a difficult word is a word we have rarely sighted. The word fuchsia is one of those words.

As I am sitting here writing this, I am looking at the  book shelves in front of me and a number of titles on display further reinforce the view that words are important to me.  Titles such as, The Word Spy, Lost for Words, The Superior Person’s Little Book of Words, The Boy Who Loved Words along with assorted dictionaries designed for writers, poets and those obsessed with rhyme stand as testimony to my ongoing love of words.
If I were to observe someone folding down an empty milk carton before placing in a bin for recycling, I would say that was an excellent example of tetramangulation. A rather pretentious word that refers to the act of folding down and reducing the surface area of an empty tetra shaped container. New word?  Absolutely!

The great thing about words is that they are constantly being invented. Sadly, words also fall out of use. Sometimes those words are well worth reviving. Anyway, it’s time for this writer to skedaddle…


  1. Hi Alan,
    I too have a bit of a fascination with new words. I have learnt many new words from doing my uni reading -most of which I am convinced are made up!
    You may have seen these two websites (which I often browse)but if you haven't, I hope you enjoy them (and I hope that they help you with Words With Friends)!

  2. Fascinating! What a great way to share words with kids! They will remember!

  3. I think I will print this piece & use it for conversations about words. I always liked the phrase, Coleridge's poetry definition, "the best words in their best order", & now you've inspired me to work even more with words in my writing groups. Your phrase, 'words grew like flowers...blossoming on the page' is a poem in itself.

  4. Thanks for sharing this post. What a great way for your students to learn new words - love your wonder words. I will have to do this in my classroom!

  5. Your idea to revive "skedaddle" reminded me of this website:

    I love your metaphor comparing the words to flowers:
    magically bursting through into the light,- blossoming on the page

    This is beautiful language. These words are happy to be flowing from your mind!

  6. Alan,

    I like this post. Words can be so fun to play with. How they sound to my ear, how they tickle my tongue. Words can be so robust. I want to try some of your ideas in class.

    Thank you.


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