By now you all know how obsessed I am with these little things called words. I may have even admitted my tendency to take my thesaurus to bed and just flick through words lists... and I might have explained on more than one occasion how fond I am of playing among sentences and squeezing language through my fingers... today I discovered something else... There are not enough words.
Imagine my surprise. Picture if you will, me sitting there happily typing away, when I wanted a word to describe how your tears run down your face. You and I both know that tears do not drip off your cheeks. They don't drop to the floor straight from your eyes. No. A tear left unchecked, unwiped and unhindered runs... wait for it... chinwards. Yes people. Chinwards. As in, towards ones chin. Not downwards. But, chinwards. Often collecting there until more than one tear joins hands and trips off the edge. Tears drip chinwards.
It is not a word. You see, we have upwards, downwards sidewards, forwards, backwards, even onwards... but no... not chinwards. I retyped the word, thinking perhaps my spell checker was merely tripping over the um, spelling. But no. The thin dotted line under my word chinwards was quite adamant that chinwards was not, nor had it ever been, a word. So I googled it. Google also got an attitude with me, saying, "Did you mean to search for Mr. Chin Wards."
"No Mr. Goolge, I did not mean to search for Mr. Chin Wards." Though I am sure he is a very nice man, and if you bother to look him up you will discover that he is on Facebook and is also an artist.
BUT...I mean chinwards.
Where the tears go.
This is not my first suspicion that my native tongue is some what lacking. A couple of weeks ago my husband asked me to tell him the word that meant 'an even held every other year.'
"Bi-annual," I shot back.
"No doesn't that mean every two years?"
"Um..yes. I guess it does..."
"What about alter-annual? Is that the word?"
But Mr. Google put us in our place. No. This was not the word. But clearly, it should be. Alter (alternative) annual (year). Great word. I like it. But sadly, it does not exist.
Then there are the words thank you. Which are real words and ones that I have used a lot in the last year. There is one particular woman who has held many of my tears and hears me say it quite a bit.
But here is the thing.
We say, "thank you" when some one makes us a cup of coffee, "thank you" if someone holds the door opened or helps wash the dishes... "thank you" is even a perfectly good word to use when given a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers... but, try saying, "thank you" for taking my hand and walking with me through my graveyard of memories." Doesn't quite cover it, does it...
I've tried using it to say thank you to the man who has stood beside me for eleven years.
I've even tried using it to thank God for my beautiful children.
Now doesn't "thank you" suddenly start to seem like a very small word? I start emptying out my back pockets looking for something... bigger. Thank you needs to be a bigger word. Or perhaps another word. Something...fuller?
What about you? Do you have this problem with your words? Have you made up any of your own? Or am I the only one inventing the next Oxford Dictionary?
PS- yes, I know, 'unwiped' is not a word either... it should be... see my point?