Writers are a different brand of geek.  They don’t nerd out with things like computer hard drives or video game design.  Instead, they get their kicks from language.  Example: today, my colleague Andy said to our room full of writing tutors, “Dude, I’ve had so many good word choices today.  My diction is rockin’!”

Words are our video games.  We get really attached to a few at a time, we learn the ins and outs and all the shortcuts and cheats, and then we go into the programming and rework pieces of code to change the way we use it in conversation.  Here are a few words for which I hold the current high scores.

1.)   Legitimate.  This one has it all: it’s got internal rhymes so it sounds really cool and it’s super fun to say.  It has the words “leg,” “git,” and “mate” inside it, so it reminds me of a British person running away from his best friend who made fun of him.  But best of all, it has enormous potential for word shortening and is therefore more useful in everyday social settings.  Here’s how we’ve changed the code: if something is cool, it is also “legit.”  It can also mean “OK,” as in, “Are you alright?”  “Yeah, I’m legit.”

2.)   Smidgeon.  It sounds like a small bird.  It rhymes with a bunch of great words, like “curmudgeon” and “bludgeon,” both of which could have made my list if they had the same potential for shortening and common usage.  Smidgeon wins with its ability to become “smidge.”  Example: “Want some ice cream?”  “Sure, but just a smidge.”

3.)   Word.  Now, this one is pretty widely appreciated by all types, from hip-hop royalty to the writing layman like myself.  But I have given this word a whole new array of revisions that make it exponentially more useful than it has ever been.  My boss always says that once you know the rules of grammar, you’re allowed to break them.  I feel the same is true for word usage.  With help from friends, I’ve created the following.

i.     Wordle: to be used when “word” just doesn’t pack enough punch.

ii.     Gword: when you think something is great and also word.

iii.     Sword: pronounced like the bladed weapon or like “Swerd,” this should be used when you agree violently.

These are just a few of my favorites.  Readers: let us know your favorite words by posting them in the comments section!

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