Thursday, March 13, 2008

Four Letter Words

One of the previously mentioned "upcoming projects," from a few posts back, is entitled Four Letter Words. The project is a bit more intelligent than it sounds, but before venturing in depth with content I have to post a few rules regarding the project. Rule No. 1 is don't talk about fight club. Rule No. 2...

That stated, of the 3900 words I pulled from a Scrabble word list, I have been sorting through them with a 1994 copy of the Merriam Webster Dictionary (MWD) - one of those cheap pocket garden variety that every would-be-student gets for high school graduation, or prior to matriculation. Needless to say, not all 3900 words accepted by Scrabble were accepted by the MWD (and fewer still accepted by the genius that is Microsoft Office); it is not a massive volume. It is also not up-to-date and does not include such hip new words, like w00t. (w00t is typed with zeros and I am ashamed that Google spell check isn't giving it the red line.)

Dictionaries can be rather frightening objects. I've seen some as thick as a toddler is tall, and that was usually just the first volume of a three book series. But, those ridiculous monstrosities typically engage the etymology and evolution of a word. They require a spotter to lift onto a sturdy oak table that is buttressed. And while particular rules regarding my project began eliminating some of the words typically found as associates in the dictionary (plurals, past tense, etc), some of the words I came across I had to raise an eye-brow.

"Cwms" is a word. I kid you not. It is Welsh for "valley" and pronounced cooms (as in Sean Puffy). It's also drunk-typing for "cwms."

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