The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.

2002.09.25 An evanescent vocabulary

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Let me introduce you to the word “moiety.” Until yesterday, I’m sure I never saw that word in my life. I’ve never read it. I’ve never heard it spoken. But according to the editors of the American Heritage College Dictionary, it’s a word I should know.

That and 99 others.

Last week, the dictionary editors released a list called “100 words that all high graduates—and their parents— should know. Talk about making a person feel stupid.

The list was made public just after a recent announcement by the people who write the SAT test. Math scores keep going up, but verbal scores actually went down last year.

Moiety, as the rest of you surely know, means half or a portion. Anthropologists might know it, too, as either of two kinship groups based on unilateral descent, blah, blah, blah.

The 100 word list starts with abjure, moves on through lugubrious and quotidian, and ends up with ziggurat.

I’ve heard of all four of those words and can define none of them. There’s not too many of the 100 than I could actually define. Several I could use in a sentence and a few more I could probably figure out if I read them in a sentence.

But overall, do I ever feel stupid.

I RAN through a few of the words with my wife and eldest daughter to see how we stood.

We made it down through the fifth word in the list before Colleen was ready to offer a guess: antebellum. To me, that sounded like a period of history and Colleen said it was related to the South.

Antebellum: Belonging to the period before a war, especially the American Civil War.

How about this one: enervate. Energize, Colleen said. That sounded good to me.

Enervate: To weaken or destroy the strength or vitality.

“Just the opposite,” Colleen said. “I was sure I had that right.”

That’s expected, according the editors. The word is often incorrectly used to mean “to invigorate.”

Rosanna suggested that I move down to the P words. Several of her recent vocabulary words in pre-composition class have been Ps and later. I hit the Os first and offered obsequious. No one had a guess so I wen��t to the definition: Full of or exhibiting servile compliance; fawning.

“Fawning, yeah,” said Rosie. “I remember it from class because we didn’t know any of the definition words either.”

That’s the problem with many of the definitions. They seem to engage in circumlocution. That word, by the way, is located between churlish and circumnavigate.

Paradigm (“I would have got it right in multiple choice,” said Colleen). Soliloquy (Rosanna knew it, thanks to a play she was in). Vortex (“A really cool ride at King’s Island,” says Rosanna). Inculcate (“It’s a nice way of saying brainwashing,” suggests Colleen).

And so it went. There were some hits and there were lots of misses.

I HEARD about the list on a radio program. The interviewer asked the dictionary senior editor if he had a favorite word among the hundred. He did.

“Actually, I do like the word supercilious,” he said, following up on the intervi�ewer’s use of the word. “Especially after I learned the etymology.”

The Latin roots come from eyebrow and pride. The raising of the eyebrow, the raising of pride showing haughty disdain. “It’s just a really cool word,” he added.

If the interviewer had been asked, I think her favorite would have been jejune. She said it two or three times, and it seemed like a special word just by the way she spoke it. She mentioned how churlish and jejune could both relate to teenage attitudes.

For me, I really like the word diffident. It means shy or timid, lacking in self-confidence. I couldn’t have defined it because it’s been too many months since I became fond of it. I first saw it on the menu at a Chinese restaurant. One particular entrée contained “diffident vegetables.”

And the most appropriate word from the list? That has to be evanescent, because my efforts to learn these 100 must-know words are sure to vanish like vapor.

    – Sept. 25, 2002 

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016