I’ve heard it said that if you’re not ready to have children that you might want to start with a pet. I’ll take that a step further, though. If you don’t think that you’re ready for a pet, then you might want to start with adopting a word. They’re easy to take care of–no morning walks in the cold, no trips to the vet, and no kennels needed for vacation.
A Web site, savethewords.org, encourages you to do just that–adopt a word. I believe it’s a creation of Oxford Dictionaries. After you go to the site, you will be sent a virtual room where words facing the possibility of extinction will vie for your attention. Clicking on the word will give you a definition, an example of how to use the word, and the opportunity to sign in and adopt the word.
Adoption is a responsibility, so signing up comes with a pledge: “I hereby promise to use this word, in conversation and correspondence, as frequently as possible to the best of my ability.” Keep it up, and you’ll be able to get that dog soon.
I have to be honest. I have not adopted any words myself, and I have no intention of doing so. I’m more interested in clear communication than in just throwing around a couple of frutescents and senticouses just to prove how smart you are.
By the way, it’s just a coincidence that I have no children, no pets, and shaky record with plants–and I’m not going to adopt a word.
Of course, if hitherto and henceforth were on the list, that might be a different story.