Dictionary Challenge Week Four: The Almighty Ant-lion

It’s been an arduous process, but it’s nothing my ardour for words can’t handle as I ardently flip each page and learn the arcana of the dictionary with a merely modest level of aplomb.

If that sentence doesn’t give it away… I’ve made it to the ar – section and I’m on the fast-track to B for the upcoming week. Again, there were a lot of potentials to make my top 5, so this week I decided to give a few honourable mentions: antimacassar (a covering on furniture, especially a chair, to protect it from grease in the hair); annus horribilis (a year of disaster or misfortune); go apeshit (become crazy); arf (a representation of a dog’s bark); arcadian (an idealized peasant or country dweller.)

Clearly go apeshit and arf struck a similar chord. When I think of the dictionary, I think of this massive set of big, difficult words and I forget that slang makes its way in there and that odd little words are still words. Or that the letter “H” isn’t just spelled h. It’s aitch. It seems obvious, but that one blew my mind just a little bit.

Now that I’ve given enough due to the runners up, here are the winners in no particular order:

  1. Ant-lion: any dragonfly-like Cartoon of a false ant-lionpredatory insects from the Myrmeleontidae whose larvae (also called doodlebug) live beneath small pits they build to trap insects
  2. Antsy: agitated, impatient, fidgety
  3. Apple-cheeked: having round, rosy cheeks (especially as a sign of good health)
  4. Apple polisher: a person who curries favour
  5. Aquiline: of or like an eagle; (of a nose) curves like an eagle’s beak

So ant-lion is a 2-for-1. First off, they already have the name dragonfly which is pretty deadly, but now they get a second ferocious name of ant-lion, but then that must have been too much because their larvae are called…. Doodlebugs? There has to be some sort of initiation process to go from doodlebug to ant-lion. Like killing a sibling or something. Those dragonflies are hard-core gangster. I mean, from that definition, it kind of looks like they use their babies as bait.

The thing that brought antsy up to the big leagues of the top five isn’t so much the definition, but the fact that it’s beginning is so humble. I’m used to all the word origins being something like French from Latin from French again. Not so this time. Antsy simple comes from the expression “ants in your pants.” So obvious and yet I still didn’t see it coming. Apple-cheeked is just such a cute word and I already know I’ll be pulling this one out the next time I see a baby or a toddler running around. Sort of like antsy, apple polisher made the list because it essentially means brown noser and comes from children who brought apples for their teachers.

I got to use apple polisher last night. For a Super Geek, I felt pretty awesome. Really. Whenever the opportunity arises that I get to seamlessly plug in one of my new words, I get kind of pumped up. Most of the time I just talk about the interesting things I’ve learned, but when I get to use the words in everyday conversation, well, that’s pretty rad.

I need a new word for rad.

Last up, there’s aquiline. While this isn’t a new word for me, it was nice to stumble across it and be reminded of its existence. I envision a tall, dark-haired, almost impossibly skinny man with hooded eyes, angular features and, of course an aquiline nose. And you know that guy is up to no good…

An acephalous body crept past in the moonlight as a dark figure stood amongst the shadows, watching – invisible, but for the aquiline silhouette of his nose protruding into the streetlamp’s dirty light.

Week Four Stats

Starting word: annuity                 Ending word: argentiferous

Pages: 53-68                                 Total Pages: 68/1815

Ahead/Behind: -72 pages

And for those of you wondering what APOCRYPHAL means…

  1. of doubtful authenticity 2. Invented, mythical

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