Today is word play Thursday. I don’t know why it’s word play Thursday, but it is. I just now came up with this, so bear with me. Not bare with me or Bayer with me, but bear with me. Why they picked that particular animal to go with me (bear), but that’s beside the point.
Anyway, I love playing with words, dictionaries, thesauruses (thesauri?), as everyone knows, so I thought of this variation of the old telephone game where one person tells a simple story to another person, that person tells it to the next, and so on, until several people later, it’s nothing like how it started. I’m trying this as I’m writing, so let’s see what happens. Here goes:
I’ll take a word, like ‘careful’, and plug it into one of the various electronic thesauruses out there, then pick one of the synonyms, plug that in, and after a few iterations (that’s a technical word), let’s see what we get.
Okay, one of the synonyms for ‘careful’ is ‘leery’, which sort of sounds, I don’t know…leery. Now, let’s plug ‘leery’ in to the Thesaurus. Randomly pick one of the synonyms for ‘leery’, such as ‘unsure’, and plug that in. We get ‘shaky’. For ‘shaky’ we get ‘rocky’, ‘rocky’ gives us ‘jagged’, and ‘jagged’ returns ‘broken’. And there we have it—six degrees of Roget. So, we started off with ‘careful’, and no matter how careful we were we got ‘broken’. Just goes to show you how pliable words are, and how a word can have different meanings, particularly in the English language. I wonder if other languages have these issues?
Let’s try one more just for grins. How about the word ‘bear’ since I was playing with it in my first paragraph. Here goes:
One of the synonyms is ‘carry’. An aside here—apparently the animal ‘bear’ has no synonyms. I feel sort of sorry for it.
Okay, moving on. With ‘carry’ we get ‘lug’ (now I’m thinking, “You big lug” or ‘lug nut’. Oh well).
‘Lug’ gives us ‘tow’, ‘tow’ gives ‘drag’, ‘drag’ returns ‘impediment’, and ‘impediment’ gives us ‘barrier’. Bear to barrier. Interesting.
Oh, and I went ahead and looked up the plural of thesaurus, and it is thesauri. So, then, would the plural of dinosaur be dinosauri?
And here’s something to note. The spell-checker for my blog doesn’t like ‘thesauri’, but it does apparently like ‘thesauruses’. Hmmm….
‘til next time…Adios.