Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wondrous Words Wednesday: New Words for a New Year

It was tough to start the new year without my daily fix of new words!  I was happy to receive the new 365 New Words-a-Year calendar that I'd ordered from Amazon.  I can always rely on finding a few good words from the calendar to feature in Wondrous Words Wednesday.  Below (alow?) are three words from the beginning of my 2013 calendar.

1. alow: below

Jay went alow to see if he could find more drinks for the hard-working crew. 

A nautical term, "alow" means "in or to a lower part of the vessel",  indicating the deck or the area of the rigging closest to the deck.  The opposite of "alow" is the more frequently used word, "aloft", used to refer to a higher part of the ship.

"Someone's turned the chest out alow and aloft."
~ Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson

The expression "alow and aloft" refers to the upper and lower parts of a ship, but can also be used in a more general sense to mean completely or thoroughly.

2. ekphrasis: a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art

The art history student was required to write an ekphrasis on Picasso's painting Guernica, which depicts the tragedies of war and the tremendous suffering it causes.

Guernica, courtesy of Wikipedia

I encountered a variation of this word before, when I read and reviewed an arresting collection of flash fiction inspired by various works of art, We Bury the Landscape by Kristine Ong Muslim.  I featured the word here in order to employ this term, and to make it more permanent in my memory.

3. WYSIWYG:  a display generated by word-processing or desktop publishing software that exactly reflects the appearance of the printed document; acronym for "what you see is what you get"

We made the pamphlet using a simple WYSIWYG program.

Originally used by advertisers to indicate that a deal was honest and straightforward, today computer users use this term to describe software that accurately reflects the appearance of the finished product. This is obviously very helpful.  Sometimes I wish previews of my blog posts were more identical to the actual posts, especially in regards to spacing issues.

Hosted by Kathy from BermudaOnion's Weblog, Wondrous Words Wednesday is one of my favorite memes.  What new words have you discovered recently?


  1. I haven't heard the term WYSIWYG for a while. Brings back memories of learning to use the computer mouse when I went from DOS to Windows. (Wow, that makes me sound so old!)

  2. I haven't seen WYSIWYG for some time either. The other two are completely new for me too.

  3. I didn't get a calendar for Christmas so I bought one for myself afterward. I had saved all of these pages because they were new words for me as well!

  4. Thanks for sharing your words. I knew WYSIWYG - alow I seem to remember from some pirate movie (after reading your definition), and ekphrasis is new to me.

  5. These are all great, and new to me words! Thanks goodness that your calendar arrived in time for the new month!

  6. Great words Suko. I'll have to use 'WYSIWYG' when texting :)

  7. What a great meme! Thanks for posting this!

  8. Those calendars are great. I had one several years in a row, and then nothing. You just reminded me I miss not having one this year:)

  9. I'd heard of WYSIWYG but not the others. I discovered a new app this year for my iPhone. You may already know about it but it's called vocabology and each day it brings in new words from various word of the day sites and - the best part - it can quiz you to review words that you've seen so far. I've been playing within every day this year so far...

    1. Vocabology is new to me! I will take a look at it--thanks!

  10. Great words. I hadn't heard of any of them apart from alow and I thought that was a word that had been made up to sound like a nautical term without actually being a word at all.

  11. Love the idea of having a word calendar. I believe in having and using a large vocabulary! Take that, Hemingway ;) This calendar would be a good reminder to expand the vocabulary, thanks for sharing a few.

  12. I love words and learning new ones. Fun to find out that alow is the opposite of aloft.


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