Word of the day disappointment

I have an American Heritage Dictionary word of the day calendar on my desk. I am not sure who chooses the words of the day, but it seems like the words are either everyday words or completely useless. Let me give you an example.

Yesterday’s word was swelter. Swelter is a good word for August here in North Carolina. Its primary definition is, “to suffer from oppressive heat.” But, you know, I use that word all the time (at least in August). It’s not a southern word, either (at least I don’t think). People in all parts of the country use it. It’s not really a vocabulary builder. It’s just a word I already knew. Thumbs down.

Today’s word is enfleurage. “A process in making perfume in which odorless fats or oils absorb the fragrance of fresh flowers.” Interesting, yes, but not very useful. Unless I start making perfume, which, let’s face it, is not likely. Thumbs down.

This calendar also has a lot of words dealing with plant parts or scientific equipment. They’re just . . . weird words. Kind of interesting, but mostly useless. I guess my expectation for a word of the day calendar includes something that I can show off in everyday life. Isn’t that what most people want? Isn’t that the point of a calendar like this, for overachievers who want to show off? Arborvitae doesn’t present a lot of conversational opportunities.

Next year I’m getting an origami calendar. (Because . . . when I think “useful” and “showing off,” I think . . . origami.)

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