Dictionary Challenge Week 30-31: Another Smattering of Words

As I write this, the 3rd Trump vs Hilary debate plays in the background. And I think back to a word I read earlier this week: mountebank. A word which means, in it’s second sense “an iterant quack appealing to an audience from a platform.”

To which I say… apt.

I also say thank goodness for the Medicine Line, which is the “Canada-US border, especially from Ontario westward,” to separate us from them. I mean, these candidates and the amount of ridiculous that comes out of their mouths really is a bit of a mindfuck (Something which “manipulates or disturbs a person psychologically”) so let’s not spend another mo (a moment) going down this dark and troublesome path.

Instead, let’s talk about, oh, how about Movember coming up? That’s a lot better isn’t it? People fundraising for a good cause… beautiful moustaches sprouting from the faces of thousands of men… it’s enough to make you believe in the milk of human kindness – “kindness regarded as natural to humanity.” Now, for all you concerned about the state of your lip caterpillars, just know that there is something called a moustache cup, which is “a cup with a partial cover to protect the moustache when drinking.” So… sort of like a sippy cup in a way. But for a grown man instead of a child and instead of protecting everything from the cup’s contents, you’re protecting the thing that means everything to you from the cup’s contents: your ‘stache.

Which brings me to the next word. Mastoid – “shaped like a woman’s breast.” Now I clearly know what breasts look like, as I am endowed with a pair of them… but why does that shape have its own name? Is every rounded hill top a mastoid? Or does it require a nipple? And if so, is there really anything that is truly mastoid shaped? And most importantly, does anyone ever say “oh look. There’s a mastoid cloud floating across the sky.”? Or any other version of that question?

Just some thoughts. But let’s move on to something much more important.

I’ve mentioned it before, but reading the dictionary shows what our society is really like. After all, our language is a reflection, showing us back to ourselves through the words that we use and how certain words are defined. For example, masculine means “manly, vigorous.” Which is a great thing when you consider that vigorous means “physically strong, healthy and robust.” Now let’s compare that with a term I read over two months ago, that being feminine and meaning “womanly, effeminate.” Which isn’t so great when you consider that effeminate is defined as “characterized by or proceeding from weakness, delicacy.”

You see, womanly doesn’t equate with Rosie the Rivetereffeminate. You can be very womanly and you can be strong, in every sense of the word. But these words are defined in these ways, used in these ways because that is what we’ve made them into. Except that now, that lens in which we see this world is cracking, slowly and bit by bit, as people are realizing that these words, these ideas are faulty. It is the feminine uprising… and you know what? It has been strong and it has been powerful and this world is changing. As for this definition of feminine? Well, I don’t think it fits anymore. So let’s finish smashing that lens. Let’s not just abandon the idea that to be feminine is to be weak, let’s destroy it completely. Because we’re not. And the world is just starting to understand exactly how wrong that premise is.

Now, this isn’t the first time the dichotomy between how men and women are viewed and treated has risen in the past 7 months I’ve been reading the dictionary. Far from it, in fact. Some days it feels like I’ve dived off the deep end into a pool of misogynistic and deprecating terms for women or their bodies. And, like the multitude of words that show the darkness humanity is capable of, it’s sickening. But for the moment, I’ll save you from that particular disappointment in mankind. [I will share the extent of this kind of language with you, but I want to read every word before I do.]

So let me end this post with a few of the fun words I liked from the last two weeks. Your Molson muscle is actually your beer belly, named after John Molson… you know… of Molson Canadian. But if you’re not a beer kind of person, then maybe you’d like some moo juice, which I’m sure you realize is just milk. And if that doesn’t suit your fancy, then perhaps you’d rather have some gin, otherwise known as Mother’s ruin.

Beyond beverages, I also learned of the word mawkish, meaning “having a faint sickly flavour.” But what I really want to know about that… is what is a sickly flavour? I mean, someone can look sickly, sound sickly, feel sickly, but what tastes sickly? Well, other than vomit. By saying flavour it makes it sound like it’s more of a spice or a meal with a particular vomit flavour to it. Which, I suppose, if you’re serving a mawkish dish, you’re probably not going to get too many compliments to the chef.

And that’s where I’ll stop for today! Thanks for reading.

Week 30/31 Stats

Starting Word: Mary Magdalene, St.               Ending Word: Muniment

Total Pages: 1020/1815                                     Ahead/Behind: -75

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