A Skosh More Words

Yesterday I was listening to a speech on my Nano. (I really like my Nano. It is cool. I like it so much that I LOVE my Nano. By the way, have I mentioned just how much I like my Nano . . . .???) The person just happened to use a word that I shared last week in my podcast. The word was penurious (stingy). Which brings me to something that I have noticed of late. Before I learn a word, I would swear that I had never read it or heard it before. Never anyplace. Ever. When I am trying to learn a new word, I seem to run across that word all the time. That word seems to be EVERYwhere! I’m coming to believe that sometimes these unknown words don’t register into my consciousness. Then, once they are on my radar screen of memorization, they seem to blip up all over the place. I think it’s more of an issue of awareness rather than lack of people using that word. You’ll probably notice the same thing, too.

Let’s see. What word should I tell you about today. I have so many. I keep lists and lists of them. They clutter up my computer, my purse, my desktop. Mmmmm . . . I think I’ll tell you about unstinting. Unstinting (un-stin-ting) is an adjective that means very generous (which is the opposite of penurious!). You can be unstinting with your praise. Santa can be unstinting with gifts to good little girls and boys. I am unstinting with my knowledge of words. You can have unstinting devotion to a cause such as saving the great white spotted owls in the Pacific Northwest of the United States — such devotion is sure to promote world peace, reduce hunger in third world countries, and cure AIDS . . .

If you look at the base word ‘stint’, you learn that stint means to be frugal. And everyone knows that the prefix ‘un’ means not. So if you are not stingy, you are generous — unstinting! Which in turn leads me back to the lovely word penurious. (Well, my dear Watson, if you don’t know by now what penurious means, you just aren’t trying!) Upward and onward to the next word . . . .

I was pondering the other day just how many words I will have written about after one year of doing this blog. In my humble estimation, it will be a prodigious amount of words! Prodigious (pruh-dij-uhs) is an adjective that means extraordinary in size, enormous, immense, huge, gigantic.

An elephant is prodigious in size — like me. Someone could get a prodigious research grant (meaning they got TONS of money). There could be a prodigious storm. I think Denver was hit with several prodigious snowstorms this winter!

It can also mean wonderful, marvelous, or extraordinary. Someone can have a prodigious talent of playing the piano. Like me. I am a virtuoso at playing Mary Had a Little Lamb. Someone could have a prodigious memory. Like me. Who remembers things for a whopping 3.4 seconds. Someone could extend prodigious kindness such as paying for all of a college student’s expenses.

I feel it’s time to shift gears a wee bit from all of the prim and proper words that I’ve been so prodigious at telling you about and share a slang word with you. That slang word is skosh. Skosh (skOsh with a long O sound) is a noun that means a small amount; a little bit. If 10 of your friends are trying to squish into a six-person booth at a restaurant, they might wish that they had a skosh more room. Husbands might want a skosh more time to finish reading the newspaper before coming to the supper table. Mothers are always trying to cajole their kids into eating a skosh more vegetables before they eat dessert or leave the table. Poor kids. . . .

It is of interest to note that this word comes from the Japanese word sukoshi that means a little bit. As that word has been Americanized, we have kept the meaning but not the pronunciation. That’s probably because we have no clue as to how to pronounce that word! But maybe if we exerted a skosh more effort, we would be able to say it correctly!

If I had a skosh more time, I’d write more. But I don’t. Adieu!

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