of the Week
word or phrase to add to your army.
Altruism (al-true-is-im) is the practice of selflessness. People who sacrifice for the welfare or benefit of others, particularly people they don't even know, are altruistic. It is a beautiful thing to be altruistic or to know someone who practices altruism. It is even more beautiful to be altruistic. People who volunteer and sacrifice are known to live longer and happier lives than those who don't.
Animals can also be altruistic. Often in nature we see animals coming to the rescue of others, even at their own risk. Mother cats adopts baby hedgehog. Dogs warning people of danger. Elephants gathering around a sick baby elephant to care for it.
Pizzicato is a fun word to say—(pits-zi-ka-toe). It has to do with stringed instruments and nothing to do with round crusts topped with tomato sauce and sprinkled with cheese, which does get stringy when baked. Most of them—instruments, not pizzas—are played with a bow. Sometimes, however, they get plucky (brave and bold) and decide to be played by having the musician pluck (see what I did there?) the strings instead of bow them. The result is much different as you will see below. This is a clip from In the Hall of the Mountain King from the Peer Gynt Suite by Edvard Grieg. It begins with the strings playing pizzicato and then later converting to bow. It is interesting and impressive that they hold their bows while performing pizzicato. Also interesting, there is a method of pizzicato that uses the bow, but it is generally done by plucking with fingers.
My daughters defenestrated (de-fin-ih-straight-id) all of their belongings from their bedroom once. What do you suppose that means?
In this case, it meant they threw all of their things out their bedroom window. It was a very long, tearful, and exhaustive afternoon and evening they had to spend walking down the hallway, through the living room, down the half-flight of stairs, out the front door, across the lawn, and into the driveway to pick up armfuls of their clothes, toys, shoes, books, and other bedroom items and tote them back across the lawn, in the front door, up the half-flight of stairs, through the living room, down the hall and back into their bedroom.
This is a part of our family history we don't discuss much. To this day, these now grown women and mothers of their own children have no idea what possessed them to defenestrate their precious things.
At least they didn't defenstrate each other, which is how the word is mainly used—to throw someone out a window.
The other thing defenestrate can mean is to throw out of office or authority. A country might grow tired of a dictator and defenestrate him or her from office.
In either case, it is to throw out of a window, either literally or figuratively.
A person who is said to be gregarious (gri-gare-ee-us), is one who is easy to be friends with. Gregarious people are generally outgoing, friendly, kind, and easy to talk to. They love to be around other people.
Plants, growing in clusters or bunches, are also called gregarious, as are animals who flock together.
I am Becky Lyn Rickman. I am a writer because I love words almost as much as I love the people in my life. I want to fill the world with magnificent words and then jump in and splash around in them. I live with Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy, my cats, but the only words they really love are "meat" and "gravy."