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Anonymous asked: any synonyms to the verb laugh? I'm only getting chuckled and snickered... (and i love the way you answered the last one)

"A Spanish-speaking man who didn’t speak English well was in an American store, looking to buy socks. Unable to find them, he approached a nice-looking saleswoman who asked if she could help. ’Quiero calcetines,’ the man said.

“‘I’m afraid I don’t speak any Spanish, but we have some nice suits on this side,’ said the woman, trying to be helpful.

“‘No, no quiero trajes. Quiero calcetines,’ said the man.

"The woman said, ‘Well, what about these shirts? They’re on sale this week.’

“‘No, no quiero camisas. Quiero calcetines,’ he said.

“‘I’m sorry, I still don’t know what you’re trying to say,’ said the saleswoman. ‘There are some fine pants on this rack.’

"The man insisted, ‘No, no quiero pantalones. Quiero calcetines.’

“‘Our undershirts are over here,’ she tried, beginning to lose patience.

“‘No, no quiero camisetas. Quiero calcetines!’ the man repeated.

"But as they passed the underwear section, the man spotted a display of socks and grabbed a pair excitedly. Showing them to her, he exclaimed, ‘Eso sí que es!’

“‘Well, if you could spell it,’ said the exasperated saleswoman, ‘why didn’t you do that in the beginning?’”

[significant pause]

The blog owner, looking slightly dismayed, says, “That was a joke! No? Not a single boffola? No one’s going to chuckle, snicker, giggle, titter, crow, howl, chortle, guffaw, or cachinnate?”

She sighs. “Well, it means roughly ‘That’s what it is!’ Please don’t get mad at me for this joke. Or for how unnecessarily long this answer is.” As an afterthought, she adds, “I was actually surprised by how few synonyms there are for ‘laugh’. But of course there are many ways to describe amusement without it.”

Anonymous asked: Do you know any adverbs that are synonyms to 'rudely' or 'harshly' ?

Brusquely, she rattled off, “Roughly, curtly, snippily, abrasively, gruffly, crudely, sharply, abruptly, derisively, disparagingly, bluntly, acidly, acerbically, nastily, caustically.”

"And also brusquely," she added, her tone milder, and slightly apologetic for her earlier rudeness. "Of course, there are probably more, and not all of these are exact synonyms, but you can see which one feels right for you.”

tomyfriendsinthetritons asked: Stop trying to make 'fetch' happen, it's not going to happen!

four for you glen coco

you go glen coco

Anonymous asked: Can you tell me how I would use 'brumous' in in a story? Also, 'brume' is the noun od brumous, right?

Yep! “Brume” is heavy fog, clouds, mist, vapor. An anon also added, 

Alongside brumous, there is also brumal—both functioning as adjectives and essentially meaning the same thing.

“Sitting on the couch with the soggy last of a bowl of cereal, Robin looked out her window at the brumous six o’clock sky and just felt morose. The minor thrill of starting her last year of high school had long since worn off, and what she really felt like she needed was some good old-fashioned adventure.”

(That’s from the rough, rough draft of a story I’m writing. Writing is hard.)

0227199208142014 asked: Aspiring linguist here: A word becomes a word when someone actually uses it. Sonder became a word since the moment someone gave it meaning, so, I don't know if it'd be academically accepted by teachers, but it is a word indeed and completely valid to use. Just check the works of David Foster Wallace and count the number of "made-up" words :) It's completely valid.

Answer moved here, and here’s why.

robertickismirolo asked: often times words like sonder can be understood, if spoken in the right tone, with the appropriate gestures in the right context. It may be more difficult in writing, but think of all the words you know that you didn't have to look up in a dictionary. It's how we learn words the most naturally.

Answer moved here, and here’s why.

Anonymous asked: Maybe anonymous could remind her teacher that at some point in time absolutely every word was entirely made up by someone.

Answer moved here, and here’s why.

Anonymous asked: (this is the same person) so since "sonder" is made up, it would be totally ridiculous for me to ever use it in conversation, a writing assignment, or other stuff? thank you so much for the help(:

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Anonymous asked: i love you and your passion for word and language. thank you for having this amazing blog and teaching me new, wonderful words every day.

I love you and your passion for word and language! Thank you for reading this blog and learning new, wonderful words every day. <3

Anonymous asked: Since you'll be published, can I just fix your Hungarian post?

Yes please. Send corrections!

Anonymous asked: what's the word that describes the realization or understanding that everyone you ever meet or pass in life has their own life and that you may or may not be a part of it but everything is connected? (sorry, i honestly can't remember very well)

My original answer to this question kind of turned controversial, for reasons I don’t entirely understand myself. In order to maintain the appearance of this blog and avoid further controversy, I’ve relocated the huge walls of text all the posts relevant to this discussion to my answerblog.

The direct answer is here. A further discussion about using “made-up” words, and this one in particular, is here. Here are the rest of the posts about language, language’s evolution, new words, “made-up” words, the wordness status of “made-up” words, and my personal stance about what I call “the balance between invention and tradition”. And here is my defense against people calling me a prescriptivist, which I am not.

I really recommend reading through all these posts; it’ll help you understand my opinions on the fairly sticky idea of “real words”, and you can decide your own opinion. Questions or comments can be directed to Otherwordly’s askbox! Dialogue is welcomed.

Anonymous asked: Hi, I was wondering if you could name different types of "thropes." Er, I know this is an odd request, but I'm curious as to what other "thropes" there are. (i.e. misanthrope, thanatothrope) Sadly, those are the only two I know. I also want to say that I really love your blog and I love the fact that you have such a passion for words. Alternatively, congratulations on your book! I'll be sure to buy it!

Thank you! And odd requests are totally okay by me—t’s just that I don’t think you’re asking quite the right question. In the word “misanthrope”, the root isn’t -thrope. It’s -anthrope, meaning ‘human’. A misanthrope is someone who doesn’t like people.

So “thanatothrope” isn’t actually a word, since -thrope doesn’t mean anything. I’m actually kinda curious to where you heard that from and what you thought it meant. I know thanatos means sea I LIED—it means “death”. (thank you, other anon) But I can’t find any word that’s similar to that at all.

If you’re looking for other -anthropes, there’s lycanthrope, which is a werewolf. A therianthrope is a shapeshifter. Philanthropy is loving others by helping them, especially monetarily (but one who does this is called a philanthropist).

edit I got your other ask, I just can’t find it in my box. I found you a few more -anthropes, though half of them are related to shapeshifting. An ailuranthrope is a werecat; an arctanthrope, a werebear. An exanthrope is a cause of a disease that is external rather than from inside the body. Synanthropes are animal species that live near and benefit from humans—things like pigeons and rats and not things like cows or dogs. That’s about it, actually, unless you want to get all the werecreatures.

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