Anu Garg | He's a man of his words
Woodinville resident Garg, 40, is the author of "Another Word A Day" and now "The Dord, the Diglot and an Avocado or Two — The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Anu Garg reads from his new book, "The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two," 6:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Seattle Public Library Ballard Branch, 5614 22nd Ave. N.W., Ballard. Info: 206-789-5006 or www.secretgardenbooks.com.
And now, a few words — literally — with Anu Garg.
Woodinville resident Garg, 40, is the author of "A Word A Day," the enigmatically titled "Another Word A Day" and now "The Dord, the Diglot and an Avocado or Two — The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words" (Plume, $13 paperback). I asked Garg about some of the latest ones he thinks are, to borrow from Orwell, doubleplusgood.
• Dord: A short-lived word for "density" that came from the accidental jamming together of "D or d," the upper- or lowercase letter being an acceptable abbreviation for the word.
So one would not say, "Whoa, that backside's got some Dord." "But if it gets used, it'll catch on," Garg says.
• Diglot: A person who speaks two languages. From the Greek di ("two") and glossa ("tongue").
Then would a president prone to malapropisms be a sub-monoglot?
• Avocado: From the Nahuatl word for "testicle," because of the shape.
"Please hold the avocado" must mean something entirely different in central Mexico.
• Illeist: Somebody who refers to himself or herself in the third person, ille being Latin for "that."
Examples: Bob Dole, Deion Sanders, The Rock.
• Nosist: Someone who refers to himself or herself as "we," i.e., "We are not amused." From the Latin nos, which means "we."
Not, in fact, someone who discriminates against Ashlee Simpson, Howard Stern or Pinocchio.
• Aliterate: Someone who can read but doesn't want to, from the Latin littera ("letter").
Slap an "a" in front of something — see amoral, atypical, or Fonzie's Ayyyy — and you're in business.
• Throttlebottom: A purposeless incompetent in public office. From Alexander Throttlebottom, the vice president in the Pulitzer-winning George and Ira Gershwin musical comedy, "Of Thee I Sing."
Look for current examples of the fullthrottlebottom.
• Mogigraphia: Writer's cramp. From the Greek mogis ("with difficulty") and graph ("writing").
Ancient Greeks did not walk around with those carpal-tunnel braces.
• Anu Garg: Native of Northern India, combining Anu (short for the Hindu anurag, which means "affection") and Garg (the name of one of 18 sons of legendary King Agresen).
Find out more about Garg and his "A Word A Day," which goes out to more than half a million e-mail subscribers, at www.wordsmith.org.
Mark Rahner: 206-464-8259 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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