I like to think I’m pretty good at vocabulary. I’m okay with that not-so-humble opinion since I have plenty of other opinions about myself that fall far below humble and make up for that boast. Yesterday I learned a new word while reading some old photocopies from an unknown knitting book. There are no clues to the title or author on the copies else I would give credit. Until yesterday I had never read past the first page of the copies, even though they’ve been in my possession for a least fifteen years. (Fifteen!?) Here’s what I read:
The tendency of sweaters to Ride-Up-At-The-Back and Droop-At-The-Front is a knitter’s (and a wearer’s) bugbear.
Bugbear. It’s a new word for me. (Along with the phrases Ride-Up-At-The-Back and Droop-At-The-Front. The capitalization is the original author’s.) Starting now, I’m going to find as many reasons to use bugbear as I possibly can. I’m also going to teach it to my children because that is what a good mother is supposed to do.
Perhaps you already knew about bugbear? It could very well be that my knowledge of words is not what I thought it was.
I was so tickled by my newfound word that I planned to read the quote aloud to my darling friend and fellow knitter when I met her for coffee, but I forgot. Typical. But maybe that’s for the best. Really, I don’t have many friends who read aloud to me. So maybe I should stifle my urges to read aloud to them? (I’m so sorry, CBC friends.)
I might have forgotten about bugbear completely except that as I was typing a text message yesterday, iPhone incorrectly autocorrected my word to . . . uh huh, that’s right . . . bugbear.
It was a message from fate. I was meant to learn a new word. And in case you didn’t know the word either, I am here to spread the bugbear gospel. From the New Oxford American Dictionary:
bug • bear |ˈbəgˌbe(ə)r|
a cause of obsessive fear, irritation, or loathing.
• archaic an imaginary being invoked to frighten children, typically a sort of hobgoblin supposed to devour them.
ORIGIN late 16th cent.: probably from obsolete bug [bogey] (of unknown origin) + bear 2 .
But really, there’s no need to be obsessively fearful about Ride-Up-At-The-Back and Droop-At-The-Front. That’s a waste of energy. If you want to be obsessively fearful about something, worry about the poltergeists that are surely in my closet and have been ever since I was six years old and I saw Poltergeist, the movie. And really, don’t let your six year old watch Poltergeist. (In the interest of full disclosure and so my mother doesn’t feel like she has to jump to her own defense, it was the babysitter who put the movie on.)
So there you go. Either you, too, learned a new word or you learned that the Queen of Laundry doesn’t know as much as you thought she knew.
I hope you have a bugbear-free day. (That’s eight times I’ve used bugbear. Oo! Nine . . .) And may you never Ride-Up-At-The-Back or Droop-At-The-Front.