Friday, February 20, 2009

The Word Nerd Sez: J is for ...


Who couldn't love a word with so many funky letters in it? Look at the potential Scrabble score:


(And don't tell me it's too long for Scrabble; if you leave "POSE" open and I have letters and room, I can totally score 25 points on it, plus bonuses.) Plus, it's a word someone crabbed together from two languages: "juxta," from the Latin for "near," and "pose" (or "position") from the English. It means to place two or more things side by side, most often for purposes of comparing and contrasting. It's an essential tool to the nonfiction writer, I believe. When I'm surveying critical reaction to someone's work, I often find it useful to juxtapose positive and negative reviews. I think it gives a broad idea of what critics think, but it also gives a subtle message: take what critics think with a grain of salt; read/look/listen and judge for yourself.

One last cool thing about juxtapose/juxtaposition, I discovered this morning: it's the last word in the J section of my old Webster's Dictionary. That really makes me want to look up the last word in every section, but I have work to get back to. Darn!

*Thanks to Pholph's Scrabble Generator: What is your score? Get it here.

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