The Ragtag Daily Prompt word yesterday was EMBIGGEN. Though I’m a day late for posting the response that came to mind when I first saw it, my mind is still on that word.
It was a new one on me so I looked it up in M-W and found that it’s a new word added because of a ’90s TV comic series. Normally I think that words added to a person’s vocabulary and/or the dictionary indicates an increase in knowledge. As we learn, we usually expand our repertoire of useful words. EMBIGGEN, on the other hand, seems like a dumbing-down of vocab. Lacking words like enlarge, expand, extend, increase, the inventor tacked an iffy prefix and suffix onto BIG and send it out into the world.
Rather like calling scrambled eggs an eggbeat. “My eggbeat was too enrunable”
Re: EXPANDING. One of the things I did when we were in the city yesterday is exchange jigsaw puzzles with a friend. She lives in a small seniors’ block with a number of others who enjoy puzzling, as do the seniors living at our nearby Villa, so every blue moon we do an exchange. I filled two boxes with about 15 puzzles I had here; she in exchange gave me a HUGE black garbage bag plus a smaller bag. Counting them later I found a total of 26 — and one was a multi-pack of seven! So instead of decreasing my puzzle stash, I’ve embiggened it. All lovely–and almost all 1000-piece puzzles. (Villa folks prefer 500-piece ones, but they’ll tackle these lovely scenes, I’m sure.)
Embiggened is a good word to describe my upper lip right now, too. As in swelled or puffed up. I felt a small cold sore — or fever blister — arising at the corner of my mouth. By evening my whole upper lip was burning. Now I’m sporting FOUR large bumps spread across my top lip, each doing its bit to fatten the whole. As in the old song, I’ll be “sipping cider through a straw” today.
Doing a quick exchange with another blogger about translation programmes. I wonder if embiggen has been added — or will it be too transient to bother with? What about RETWEET, another new word? Constantly being improved, these programmes are still limited — you still need a proofreader — because English words have so many different applications. I recall one Spanish ESL student laughing about the idea of a nose running! Or consider telling a doctor that your elbow joint isn’t running fast, when you should be saying it isn’t functioning properly.
When we lived in Quebec, some journalist did articles about English companies using translation programmes and the hilarity that resulted at times. For example: gloves with stretch fabric “for a snug fit” became “for a comfortable seizure.” The words mind and spirit — the one word ESPRIT in French — so easily get mixed up, too. In one case, “It doesn’t violate the spirit of the author” with a dictionary’s help became “It doesn’t rape the mind of the author.”
Using the precise word is essential to good communication — and we are so blessed to have such a range of precise words. 🙂