The Power of Words

Reading Ludwig Wittgenstein’s quote, I was reminded of a school friend of mine named Phyllis. In junior high, I’d sometimes spend the night at Phyllis’ house. Every morning at breakfast, her father would share a word for the day. He always gave us the correct spelling, pronunciation, and definition then made us use the word in a sentence.

Every morning at breakfast, her father would share a word for the day. He always gave us the correct spelling, pronunciation, and definition then made us use the word in a sentence.

Once he thought we’d master the new word, he’d say, “And now you’ve had a worthwhile day. You’ve learned something new.”

I guess you could say Phyllis’ dad nurtured my love of words. I still remember the very first word he tossed into our conversation.

Ratiocinate

It’s an uncommon word, but I’ve managed to use it in a few discussions over the years. Sometimes it falls on doubting ears and, I’m sure, the hearer went home and checked a dictionary to see if it is a real word. Whatever the reaction, interjecting that new word grows a discussion just as the Austrian philosopher says.

Btw, ratiocinate means to reason; carry on a process of reasoning.

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