9.08.2008

Dictionary

My computer came with an excellent Dictionary/Thesaurus program.

I like to keep it open all the time, especially when I read or watch a movie. At first I used it only to look up words I was unfamiliar with, but gradually began looking up any word that while I mostly understood and could even use in a sentence I couldn't confidently define. It has been an illuminating practice. Words I thought I understood well have become much richer, and occasionally even entirely different than I had believed. I have also realized that the amount of words I use regularly without fully understanding is much greater than I had previously thought.

It was about a year ago I began using the Dictionary software as much as I could, but only a few months ago I began using the thesaurus portion of it regularly. I use it whenever I write. It helps me, when I am struggling with choosing the most accurate word to say what I think. While the words I choose with thesaurus help are almost always ones I am familiar with and comfortable using, I often have trouble finding the exact word I want using only my mind. This is probably why I have almost no proclivity towards poetry, and an admiration for those who do (well, those who do and write stuff I like, well, not necessarily a high regard for that person cause maybe they are also a dick, but a high regard and admiration for their ability with words.). Having a list of synonyms to look at is immensely helpful for me finding the closest word to represent my thoughts/feelings.

I have also found myself looking up definitions and synonyms of words I am using, and am confident about, because I am curiosity about etymology and less common synonyms.

This brings me to the reason I am writing any of this. I want to write about one particular synonym I learned recently which stands above all others, it is a synonym for wrangle, but is can also be used with a slightly different meaning(obtain through persuasion or manipulation).
This magic word is:

Wangle!

Isn't that a funny word! And isn't it funny it can be interchanged with wrangle? "I was able to wangle Bill Gates into helping me wrangle money to pay our parking meter" I'm not sure if I used that right. "Wangle Bill Gates" is correct, but I am unsure about the "into". It is things like that which don't matter.

3 comments:

Vincent said...

"Wangle" was very common in my youth over here. I expect it is one of those slangy words specialized to one side of the Atlantic. I would use it in the sense of manipulating persons or things to your advantage, as you have done. "Wrangle" to me is more of a noun or intransitive verb which invokes some kind of disputation, or a non-violent physical fight, as in "the twins were wrangling on the lawn". They might have been arguing or rolling around wrestling.

There is a nice word "blag", I have written it up in one of my blog posts.

chris almond said...

thanks for the interesting info vincent. So what sort of status does wangle have now in the great fish and chips shop across the sea(england)? is it the sort of old slang that can still be used at the right moment or is it the sort of old slang that feels painful when used in the present?
also, blag! what a useful word! it describes something very specific that needed describing. I am going to start using blag in every conversation I have. Over and over again. People will wonder if I am really saying blag or mispronouncing something else.

Vincent said...

I don't think wangle has gone out of fashion. Everyone would know what it means even if the fashionable youth might not use it. They would have a more up-to-date equivalent probably.