Dictionary Challenge Week 45: Breaking Even

I’m a little late on putting this one up, but on the 313th day (January 21, 2017) of the challenge, I finally stopped being behind. And here’s what that felt like:

Week 45 Stats

Starting Word: Streisand, Barbara          Ending Word: tardive dyskinesia

Total pages: 1591/1815                             Ahead/behind: +6


Dictionary Challenge Weeks 32-33: Hey Nimrods!

Prepare yourselves folks. Because I’ve been treating you pretty good so far… you know, choosing the best words to pass along to you without making you slog through the dictionary yourselves. Today, however, that changes. So watch this video and share this painstaking experience with me.

If you actually made it all the way to the end, I applaud you. (Though I’m willing to bet no one did and I really don’t blame you for tapping out.) I know it wasn’t easy. And that’s now 8 minutes of your life you’ll never get back. Which is pretty insignificant when compared to the amount of time I’ve already dedicated to reading The Behemoth… that being somewhere between 90 and 100 hours so far.

Jeez. I’m going to be able to do so many things when this challenge is over.

Anyways, it’s not always like what you just witnessed. There really are some awesome things in that big old book of words. Take murder for example. Okay, that maybe came out wrong. I don’t mean murder is awesome. I’m all about non-violence. But! The second sense of the word is “an unpleasant, or dangerous state of affairs” and I think it’s awesome that the definition made me laugh out loud…. Because, really – what an understatement. Imagine someone being murdered in cold blood and the newscast comes on the TV with the anchor saying “The family of Alfred Thompkins mourns an unpleasant state of affairs. Mr. Thompkins was murdered by a deranged psychopath.” Yeah, I don’t think so.

Some other thing that I have recently learned… a musk-ox is “a large goat-antelope”. I didn’t see that coming. Also, we are all basically netheads because most of us are “frequent users of the internet.” And…  the word nice was originally a Middle English word meaning stupid/wanton from Old French for silly/simple. That one makes me a little sad because I can see the evolution at work. Nice people generally get taken advantage of the most for being caring, trusting, generous and good to others. Which boomerangs back around to them being kind of stupid when they get taken advantage of. Kind of like the dog biting the hand that feeds it. Most of us have been there, getting bit by our dogs… we’ve been the nice guy… and where did we finish? Last! Ah, but thank goodness for Karma right? Good things are a-coming. Right? Right? I think so. So despite the word’s origins, stay nice. You’re not stupid. You’re a good person and the world needs more people like you.


Original photo courtesy of M01229 via Flickr. Adapted by me.

And while we’re on the subject of stupid… to all my hunter friends, don’t get angry the next time I call you a nimrod. It’s actually a compliment meaning, in the second sense of the word that you are “a skilled hunter.” Well, I guess you won’t really know for sure though, because in the third sense, it also means “an inept person.” So… happy hunting ya nimrod!

Now I saw a news story the other day in which kids didn’t know that beef came from a cow or that when they were eating their burger they were eating a cow. There are words sort of like that. We get accustomed to words without really knowing what they mean sometimes. For example, o’clock. We all know what 6 o’clock is. It’s 6 in the morning. Or 6 at night. But did you know that o’clock means “of the clock”? It’s not a surprising definition, but it reminds you that sometimes you don’t think critically. You don’t know the why, but the word is so ingrained that you don’t think to ask why.

There is, however, something I want to ask “why” about, and it is… why is an ordinary seamana sailor of the lowest rank, that below able seaman”? Titles aside, you’d think that your common, ordinary seaman would at least be able. Their ranking system kind of says that the average seaman isn’t able. Not really good odds on your ship since that puts half of them as unable. Maybe changing the titles would make people feel more at ease.

Another thing I’ve noticed since I began this challenge, is that there is a form science dedicated to everything. I mean everything. In just the past two weeks, I’ve come across orthoepy, “the scientific study of the correct pronunciation of words” and oenology “the study of wines”. If I knew that oenology was a thing when I was 18… my career path would probably have gone a lot differently.

Next up I have to talk about some words where I have some sort of an appreciation for the way in which they were defined. First, is overkill, being defined in the second sense as “the amount by which destruction or the capacity for destruction exceeds what is necessary for victory or annihilation.” Pretty sure when you’re talking about annihilation, there is no such thing as overkill. But what a grand definition. I mean, it’s big, you know? I usually use overkill for more simple things, like the amount of homework assigned was overkill. And that’s not exactly something that would destroy the world as we know it.

Similarly, the definition of overwhelm in the third sense is “bring to sudden ruin/destruction; crush.” Yup, being overwhelmed is a pretty monumental thing. But again, I usually take it more along the lines of “I’m overwhelmed with the amount of chores I have” but I wouldn’t say that means I will be ruined or crushed. I can… and will… *Cue gladiator music* … survive my chores!

Okay, okay. I know I put you through the gears in making you watch me read the entry for just one word from the dictionary. So I won’t drag on forever here. Here’s a list of some of the other words I either learned, found the definition to be interesting, or just simply liked from the past two weeks:

Orgulous – haughty, proud

Orphan drug – a drug that is useful but is not commercially available for the pharmaceutical company producing it unless it is granted tax credits and other special status

Overweening – arrogant, presumptuous, conceited

Olivaceous – olive green; of a dusky yellowish green

Obstreperous – 1. Unruly, resisting control 2. Noisy, vociferous

Obstinate – 3. Inflexible, self-willed

Normal school – a school or college for training teachers

Nullity – 2a. the condition of being non-existent b. a mere nothing

As always.. thanks for reading! If you want to know as soon as the next post is up, click on the little blue rectangle at the top of the page to the right that says “Follow Exit Sideways.”

Week 32-33 Stats

Starting Word: Munition                     Ending Word: Pacific Daylight Time

Total Pages: 1114/1815                        Ahead/Behind: -51 pages

Dictionary Challenge Week 20: All Good Things Come to an End

In the wise words of Nelly Furtado… all good things come to an end. So, I included a little video below so you can hear Nelly Furtado elaborate on this a little bit. Go ahead. Press play.

Now scratch the part about lovers and friends. Why? Because I never loved Bertie The Behemoth (which is what I have decided to name my hulking companion) and we are not friends despite this constant companionship. And also, the “good thing that is coming to an end” isn’t Bertie The Behemoth, but my once glorious comeback about demolishing her.

Yup. I have not broken even yet, but over the last 8 weeks I have been steadfastly digging myself out of the egregious hole I had dug for myself with this challenge (that being the attempt to read the Canadian Oxford Dictionary in under a year by keeping a schedule of reading 35 pages a week, which I had fallen pitifully behind on.)

That’s two months. And I have to bite, claw and fight every inch of the way back to par. This week the comeback stopped. I really tried to fight to keep the comeback going, but I have to be honest… I’m tired.

I’m really, really tired.

Do I stop? Do I just walk away and pretend I never tried at all?

I could.

And some days I really consider it. Some days I want to quit. Some days I want to light a match and watch The Behemoth go up in flames. (And book burning is something I do not take lightly at all…)

But then the sun rises again, I pour a cup of coffee, and I crack open The Behemoth. Some days I win, some days I lose, but all I can do is take each loss and each win and stack them up day by day until I reach the end. It is, after all, up to me whether I make it to the end at all. And when or if I do, I’m not so sure how I’ve been defining success and failure is going to be quite right.

And speaking of defining…

Clearly the challenge itself is always on my mind, so I have found that many of the words that jump out at me and I end up scribbling down are related to the experience or how I feel about myself during this challenge. As in.. I consider myself a fantast with a fighting chance despite my false start at the beginning of this fandangle in which I am trying to fight the good fight and avoid a fiasco… but maybe I’m just a fanatic who is trying to avoid a facile way of living and in doing so made an unfortunate faux pas.

But I guess not everything is about me. Right?

Fantast – a visionary; a dreamer

Fighting chance – an opportunity of succeeding by great effort

False start – an unsuccessful attempt to begin something

Fandangle – (in sense 2) nonsense, tomfoolery

Fight the good fight – act with strong commitment to a worthy cause

Fiasco – a complete and utter failure

Fanatic – (in sense 1) a person filled with excessive and often misguided enthusiasm for something

Facile – (in sense 1 a) easily obtained or achieved and so not highly valued

Faux pas – (in sense 1) a tactless mistake; a blunder

This week I also came across a few quite powerful words. Fie being one of them. It comes from Old French from Latin and is an exclamation of disgust at a stench. That right there is powerful. Because you don’t use the word stench lightly. You could use fetid or fetor and they both relatively mean something stinky. But when you whip out the big guns and say “stench” you know that is an utterly devastating smell. Plus, fie is such a hard, short word…. I can’t wait for someone to fart so I can raise my fist to the heavens and shout an impassioned FIE!

But back to fetor. That’s also kind of a fun definition, that definition being “an offensive smell.” So it’s a bit more than just stinky. It’s offensive. Just picture yourself letting a big one rip right by a high society lady who instantly becomes offended by your fetor and curses discreetly under her breath… “fie.”

Because it’s unbecoming to use actual curse words. And to shout.

Ah. Okay, enough of this fible-fable (nonsense). Find me on facebook or twitter  or subscribe over to the right of this page to follow along as I keep trying to fight the good fight… for the moment.

Week 20 Stats

Starting Word: F                   Ending Word: fighting fish

Total Pages: 551/1815         Ahead/Behind: -154

Dictionary Challenge Week 18: D is for Done

You thought it would be another month before I got through the next letter, didn’t you? Sheesh. Ye of little faith. Just kidding. My track record hasn’t been quite up to snuff this go around. But guess whhhhhat?? This gal did it.

D is Done.

I still can’t breathe the sigh of relief that comes with being out of the red, but at least I don’t feel like quite as much of a loser as I have been the last while. Those of you who have been with me through my other challenges know that I take losing, failing, and being inadequate kind of hard. Sure, I’m an advocate for it being a necessary part of the journey to success, but it still puts the hurt on a person’s ego. Maybe that’s why I’m so humble…. Pfft.

Anyways! Slowly, steadily…. I’m coming for par.

Here are a few words that jumped out at me over my perusal of the D section of the dictionary:

Starting Word: developer                  Ending Word: empty

Total Pages 491/1815                         Ahead/Behind: – 144 pages

Dictionary Challenge Week 17: Eat. Breathe. Dictionary.

When you say you’re going to do something, you have to do it. And if you don’t, there are consequences and you have to pay the price. When I started this challenge I was too busy to dedicate the time it required and foolishly thought I could easily make it up later.

A familiar story right?

Well. I’ve been living in later for the past few weeks and I am going to be honest here…

It’s been brutal. The dictionary has taken over my life.

I am not joking. I am not being facetious. I am not exaggerating. If I’m not reading it, I’m thinking about it. Every. Spare. Moment. Mostly I’m plagued by questions of am I wasting my life away with my nose in the dictionary? Will I ever make this come-back? Can I break the ten minute page and still retain things? Should I have brought the dictionary to ball to read between bats? Does anyone care or get why I am doing this? How many more hours until I’m no long behind? Am I, quite possibly, the biggest geek of them all?

I can actually say thank god for my job because it gives me 8 hours of guilt-free reprieve from reading the behemoth and from thinking about it. It’s gotten to the point that if someone doesn’t talk succinctly I start to feel anxious because they’re wasting time that I could be spending with my *precious* dictionary.

This is not something I feel good about.

But this is the price I have to pay. I was the one who fell behind. For good reasons, but it’s still on me to deal with the consequences. I just want to say sorry to all the people out there that are suffering along with me. I promise it won’t be this way forever. I hope.

This is a familiar point in every challenge I’ve ever done. It’s the point where the initial enthusiasm has worn off and I can’t rely on excitement alone to carry me through, doubt starts to creep or come crashing in, and I question the validity of what I am doing. Most people might think that at this point, it’s time to cash in those chips and walk away. I’m not one of those people that can do that. I know I won’t always succeed as I’ve learned from my last challenge and the one before that. But I won’t ever quit trying. I know to most people that reading the dictionary is odd, it’s not the same as trying to get into shape. But if it were about that, when things get tough, you don’t just walk out of the gym never to return. You buckle down and deal with it.

On June 7th I hit my lowest point: behind by 242 pages. Since then I have been reading this thing every morning before work… over every noon hour break… after work… in the evenings… on the weekends… in the car… on the couch… at the table… in my home office… in the park… in bed… on the porch… on park benches… everywhere… all the time.

I have only made a 54 page comeback in that time.

This past week I read 61 pages. Almost double my weekly quota. And it took everything I had. My eyes are red, my head actually hurts, and… I now know that deep-six originally meant bury at sea.

Which is what I sometimes feel like doing with the dictionary.

But, you know, I’m an obstinate thing and I’ve dedicated myself to the dictionary. Dedicate, if you don’t know, means devote (oneself) to a noble task or purpose. So maybe that was a catachresis (an incorrect use of words) because I don’t know how noble reading the dictionary really is. Enough of this, though. Because all that reading means I have a lot of awesome things I feel I need to talk about. First up… the action of throwing (especially a person) out of a window has a word and that word is defenestration. Especially a person! I have no idea when I will ever get to use this knowledge, but I hope when the day comes… I’m ready.

Now, decadence. It brings up images of gourmet food right? Sweet chocolates of marginal size and exorbitant prices? Well. It is the moral or cultural deterioration especially after a peak or culmination of achievement. I will throw you a little bit of a bone: the third sense of the word decadent is (of food) very rich or sweet [with the implication that eating it is an act of self-indulgence] So the question you have to ask yourself is… is self-indulgence a bad thing?

Now one that I liked was devastating, meaning crushingly effective. That sounds pretty killer… So effective it destroyed, annihilated, crushed!

But don’t think the awesome stops there. My favourite word of the week is one you’ll all know (kind of like pretty much all of the ones I’ve already mentioned) and that word is delicious. The word itself could even be considered delicious as the second sense means entertaining; very enjoyable given that I clearly have been entertained by the first sense of it. The first sense being highly delightful and enjoyable to the taste or sense of smell. Come on. You totally have to picture your personified taste buds having a discussion about a “delightful” pastry like they’re a bunch of old British ladies at high tea. You didn’t picture that? Well, I’m glad I put that image in your head.

Then there is also the dawn chorus (the singing of many birds at the break of day) and cube farm (an office where the workspace is divided into cubes) and crocodile tears, meaning not giant tears, but insincere grief. And lastly, there is cowpunk which is a cow that farmers make look punk-like by piercing their ears with jewelry and putting spiked collars around their necks.Punk Cow

Didn’t fool you for a bit on that last one did I? Cowpunk is actually country/western music mixed with punk rock. I know. You’re thinking a genre mashup like that isn’t possible. But I’m not pulling your leg this time.

That’s all for this week, folks. I really do appreciate all of you who have been here sticking it out with me. So, thanks.

(And yes. I verbed dictionary in the post title. I also just verbed verb.)

Week Seventeen Stats

Starting Word: cowpoke               Ending Word: develop

Total Pages 412/1815                     Ahead/Behind: – 188

Dictionary Challenge Week 13: Down with the All-Day Breakfast

I’m not picking any favourites this week. Instead, I want to share my thoughts on some of the contents of the 47 pages I read. So saddle up for this ride.

No PancakesThe subject of breakfast can be pretty contentious. Some people could eat breakfast morning, noon and night.. but I am not one of those people. I just prefer lunch foods. My dining companion, unfortunately, is all about breakfast. But now I get to throw the dictionary down in a glorious over-dramatic mic drop fashion… because breakfast is defined as the first meal of the day. That’s it. Once you’ve eaten, you can’t go back. You can’t re-break the fast of the night. There is only one breakfast per day. Down with the all-day breakfast! No more shall we have pancakes at 6 pm! No eggs for lunch! No bacon… wait, actually, yes. Bacon all the time. (There’s always an exception.)

Also of importance is that the slang version of breakfast is spelled brekkie. I really thought it would be breaky.

Now I gotta talk dinosaur for a moment. Dinosaurs in general are just awesome. I probably wouldn’t think that if I existed back in their day or found myself cowering under the counter while raptors prowled the premises. I never thought the brontosaurus was the most awesome of the dinosaurs (I’ve always wanted to physically be able to fly so of course I’m a pterodactyl kinda gal. I know… I’ll never be able to fly.) but! Brontosaurus comes from Latin, bronte meaning thunder and sauros meaning lizard, so put it all together and you got one brobdingnagian THUNDER LIZARD! Oh yeah. That sounds pretty damn cool.

Oh, are you wondering about brobdingnagian? Yeah that means gigantic, colossal. It’s a bit of a mouthful.

But let’s not dwell on that. There are more important things ahead! As in the definition for brunette is a woman with dark brown hair. What about the men!? Naturally, there can be no dark brown-haired men in the world if the dictionary hasn’t allowed for it. I kid. I’ve noticed a huge gap in words that are designated for women or men only, despite that there are aren’t just bat boys, but also bat girls even though only bat boy exists in the dictionary or how a ballerina is defined as a female ballet dancer, but the men have no distinctive title and must exist under the non specific title of ballet dancer. There’s a bigger can of worms to be opened here, but this is as far as I’ll go… today.

Okay, actually just one last delve into this topic. Bombshell.

  1. An overwhelming surprise or disappointment
  2. An artillery bomb
  3. An attractive woman

What do these three things have in common? Really. You tell me. An attractive woman is a disappointment? Or it’s surprising to find a really attractive woman? Or when you see an attractive woman, you’ll be bombed which will at first be a surprise and then, of course, be quite the disappointment.

I do find it pretty interesting how words gain multiple meanings.

But now, I’ll wrap things up with some fun stuff. Like the phrase ‘go bush’ meaning leave one’s usual surroundings; run wild. And I like that. But then again, I always have a romantic notion of running wild and being free so of course I’d like this one. I’ve also finished up with the B section and am now in the Cs. So here’s my first C word that I like: cahoots. It just sounds so cute. Well, the cute way of saying in collusion. Which is a lot less cute. But when you pull out ‘cahoots’ you can only really use it to describe the neighbourhood kids planning an elaborate plan to retrieve an autographed ball from the yard of a terrifying beast of a dog.

I also like canoodle (kiss and cuddle amorously)…. both the word and the doing.

What I don’t like, at least the idea of, is cantharides. Which I just learned about. This is a preparation made from dried bodies of a particular type of beetle, causing blistering of the skin and formerly used in medicine and sometimes taken as an aphrodisiac. I think I just heard you all say WTF right along with me. Perhaps this is where S&M began. No, don’t think about that. Don’t think about it! This is kind of like when you think of stuff like the first person who thought jumping out of a plane was a good idea or the first person to risk a heart transplant. Potentially fatal, but someone had to do it right? Hopefully the blister beetle lessons have been learned.

Anyways, that wraps up week thirteen. The good news is that I haven’t fallen further behind. This was my most successful week and I managed to make a few pages of a comeback. Which was actually disheartening because I buckled down and put in a lot of time this week and though I read almost 50 pages, I only came out of the hole by about 15. In other (probably not) interesting news… I have read 230 pages altogether and I am also behind by 230 pages. So. There’s that.

Week Thirteen Stats

Starting Word: Break dancing            Ending Word: Cargo Cult

Total Pages 230/1815                           Ahead/Behind: – 230

Dictionary Challenge Weeks 8-12: I’m Back! Behind! And still on B!

I’m back at it! Sorry for leaving you, my few fans, high and dry.

So I’ve had a couple of goose eggs on the scoreboard for Weeks 8 and 9, plus a poor showing for weeks 10, 11, and 12. But I swear I haven’t been bone-idle (utterly idle or lazy), instead I have been becoming a bon vivant! (A person indulging in good living) Although, I do feel like a bit of a boob (A foolish or stupid person) now that I am over 200 hundred pages behind. But I swear I am coming back to my bookish (studious, fond of reading) ways.

You see, I’ve made the great trek across the Country, leaving behind the brass monkey (used to indicate extreme cold) of the sub-arctic for the blazing heat of the Okanagan… A place where my once prized wild lion’s mane is now far too bouffant. (Puffed out) I can actually feel my hair sweating. Okay. Maybe not. But, you know, still. It’s hot rocking this much hair.

Anyways! Let’s not dwell on my shortcomings. I have finally settled down and I’m ready to make the greatest comeback of the year.  I’ll leave no word unread! No definition unseen! I will toss caution to the wind and read in the dark! I will pour over these pages leaving no page un-turned! I… well… to put it simply – I’m just going to read. A lot.

Now, even though I haven’t turned a lot of pages over the last few weeks, I still have a great line up for you:

  1. Boondoggle: work of little or no value done merely to appear busy
  2. Brand new: completely or obviously new
  3. Bomblet: a very small bomb
  4. Brainpan: the skull
  5. Bone Shaker: a type of bike with solid tires. 2. A decrepit or uncomfortable old vehicle
  6. Blind pig: an illegal bar
  7. Boff: have sexual intercourse with
  8. Blue tit: A common European bird, Parus Caeruleus, with a distinct blue crest on a black and white head

Oh boy! Where to start, right? For those following along, you know I have a soft spot for goofy sounding words and we all know boondoggle fits the bill. Plus, I feel like no word and definition pairing could be better. (Okay, okay. Maybe there’s a lot of ties for first place) So, we’ve all been there. Boondoggling the day away ‘cause it’s slow at work but you’ve still got to put in your 9-5 to bring home the bacon. At least when you’re stuck there, you can get some slight enjoyment using the word boondoggle.

[Side note: most of my top picks usually get smacked with a searing red line of spelling shame because Microsoft Word clearly doesn’t have the same standards as the Oxford Dictionary when it comes to words in their reserve. But. Boondoggle isn’t getting flagged by spell check. It’s a legitimate word recognized not only by Oxford, but also Microsoft Word. I’m surprised.]

[Side, Side Note: WordPress isn’t as up to speed.]

Next, I want to make fun of brand new. This gets used everywhere, especially in advertising. (And yeah, I totally use it as an intensifier too.) But it’s ridiculous. If something is new – then it’s new. You can’t have newer than new. It’s like infinity. You can’t have an infinity of infinity. This isn’t inception here. Similarly, I find somewhat of an issue with bomblet…. a tiny bomb is still “a container with explosive, incendiary material…” that is designed to destroy! It sounds cute, but it could kill you.

With the next word, we’re back  on the positive side of things. How awesome is brainpan? A few years back I was racing a kamikaze down a black diamond run and due to my competitive nature, when I wiped out, I smashed my brainpan on the ice and got a concussion. Which really sucked, but could have been made so much better by getting to make the brainpan reference.

The next two words are so bad ass. Well, if they were bar or store names. If I owned a bike shop I would definitely call it Bone Shaker and completely ignore the second sense of the word. But maybe I’ll own a bar, in which case I would obviously call it the Blind Pig even though I’m sure I’d run a legal business…. (Okay, actually… on this subject, I perhaps already operated a Blind Pig when I was in my youthful University days. Just for two nights… but that is something I will neither confirm, nor deny.)

Now that we’ve covered libations, let’s talk about sex. Who is ever going to say “I boff with Suzanne”? I’m sure she’s nice, but… boff? It reminds me of Road Trip with DJ Qualls where he says “I boinked her”. At the bottom, I posted a poor quality video I found of that scene so you can see how bogus it is to use the word boink or boff sexually.

A Blue Tit

And now we’re at the final word. Blue tit. You may have heard of blue balls. Well. Blue tit is nothing like that. So get your mind out of the gutter.

That’s it for covering the last 5 weeks of this challenge. As a bonus for sticking around while I went on somewhat of a hiatus, I’m going to put something up after the weekend where you get to watch me try to prove my newfound knowledge. So stay posted for that.

Week 8 Stats: N/A

Week 9 Stats: N/A

Week 10 Stats:

­­­­­­­­­Starting Word: biweekly        Ending Word: blow

Total Pages 158/1815             Ahead/Behind: – 197

­­­­­­­­­­­­­Week 11 Stats:

Starting Word: blow               Ending Word: bona fides

Total Pages 166/1815             Ahead/Behind: – 224

Week 12 Stats:

Starting Word: Bonaire          Ending Word: breakbeat

Total Pages 183/1815             Ahead/Behind: – 242