Merge Wright: A Thousand Words Per Year


One Thousand Words per year?

I was reading the other day that approximately 1,000 new words are added to the dictionary each year. That means since 1990, 30K new words have been added. When I won the school spelling Bee in 1957 on the super easy word “excellent” that I was totally embarrassed about. It was too easy. We had some real tough ones earlier. It was down to my best friend Joe Smith (try and find Joe on the internet) we had eliminated the girls and several high risk guys. Just Joe and I back and forth smiling at each other.

Then an easy one came flying at Joe. “Excellent” and without thinking he ended the word with the vowel “a” instead of “e”. Too late he was very upset and I very happy. That’s how things happen in life. We had studied so many darn words every night and some we had no idea what they meant. About two weeks later I’m at the Detroit Spelling Bee having studied hundreds and hundreds of additional words and was a bit nervous. 

All was going great until the 5th round. My word was “melodious” and I did not ask for the definition because I thought it has to be related to a malady an illness that’s what it is and quickly said “m a l o d...”stopped and said to my self music not illness you just lost you dummy. Yup, Just like Joe I used an “a” instead of an “e”. We both responded way too quickly. I pulled a Joe and told him about it the next day riding our bikes to school.

I had to go back to 1957 to see what words

were added to Webster’s Dictionary that year. Here are a few that I can’t believe we’re added that long ago, bone spur, doggie bag, pothead, clip art, fab and scumbag. If they’ve added 30,000 new words since 1990 I’d think twice about getting involved in spelling bees today. I often wondered if medical schools had spelling bees.....that would be a nightmare. Maybe that’s why I went into music not the terminology used for the interior parts of human beings, the illnesses and pharmaceuticals necessary to keep us alive. Can you imagine the size of that dictionary?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Please be careful.

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