Word Nerd (or is that Geek?)

Cover of "Flip Dictionary"

Cover of Flip Dictionary

I am a word nerd. Or maybe a word geek.

As a writer I often hear the advice to keep it tight, keep it simple and move the story along. But sometimes I love to play with words. For the fun of it I’ll be writing and want to find the perfect word with the perfect definition of what I’m trying to say. Or an unusual word. Or a ridiculously flamboyant word.  I always have a thesaurus and dictionary at hand. But one of my favorite tools for doing this is the Flip Dictionary by Barbara Ann Kipfer, Ph.D.

In this book, I look up a boring, everyday word and voila la! There listed are sometimes dozens of other choices to choose from. I forget where I heard about this book but have used it repeatedly because it’s so quick and easy to use.

This is also a great way to increase your vocabulary since some of the listed words are ones that you rarely see and may not be sure of the exact definition. That leads me to look it up in the dictionary. Even if the definition isn’t exactly what I’m looking for, I can file that word away for future reference.

So, yes, I’m a word nerd. (I had originally titled this post as Word Geek and after looking up the definitions in the dictionary, decided that according to that, Nerd is a better word. Then I started reading the associated blog posts that popped up and, well, maybe you can figure it out!) Modern usage of words is constantly evolving as well, so this search for the perfect word can get complicated!

Do you play with words? What do you do to have fun with words? Which word would you use? Geek or nerd?

Remember to have fun!

11 thoughts on “Word Nerd (or is that Geek?)

  1. So it’s like a thesaurus, this Flip Dictionary?

    • It is like a thesaurus but I think its easier to use. With a thesaurus you have to either look up a word in the index or figure out what class the word is in. In the Flip Dictionary, you just look up the word you want to find an alternate for alphabetically and there is a list of new words.

      • Really? I’ve always looked up the word I need in a thesaurus and it’s worked fine for me. But if you say this is easier, I’ll take your word for it. Hang on, let me Google it. . . .

        Oh, I see! I just read Amazon’s description. It definitely does sound useful!

  2. Maybe you can see if your local library has a copy and give it a try that way! Have fun with words!

  3. drybredquips says:

    Thanks for liking “misery defined,” for your comment, Sherrie, and for tipping me to the Flip Dictionary. I mostly use Rodale’s The Synonym Finder, but like to look at other books. When I wrote for a newspaper, some called us “word merchants.” You’re right about “constantly evolving.” They say the dictionary is a book of history, not a book of law.I have a sort of textbook of word perfection, published in 1968 by the then-eminent semanticist, S.I Hayakawa, titled “Choose the Right Word.” Best to you, as you have fun with writing. .

    • John,
      I love you phrase ‘the dictionary is a book of history, not a book of law.’ That makes sense. Do you still use “Choose the Right Word”? I know once I’ve found a useful book I stick with it. And thank you for your comment.

  4. Nicole says:

    This looks really neat, I need to check it out! I’m constantly googling a word followed by “thesaurus”

  5. drybredquips says:

    Thanks for liking “may I be excused?” Sherrie, and for your comment. I still use “Choose the Right Words,” but don’t always agree with it. Thick, paper-cover book, with brief, interesting, essay-style explanations. An overall word such as CRIME, with explanations of “felony, misdemeanor, offense, treason, violation.” Also a good index of all words. Probably only available now from one of those online book searchers or dealers. Best to you.

  6. drybredquips says:

    Appreciate your liking “bank dealings,” Sherrie. Hope you’re having a good summer. Really hot here!

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