Column: Mysterious words and being a lifetime learner

Published 8:26 am Thursday, February 7, 2019

By JOYANNA LOVESenior Staff Writer

There are many words that I understand the meaning of in context but could not give a textbook or dictionary-quality definition for.

Such was the case for “fastidious” when Jemison Mayor Eddie Reed used it in a recent Jemison City Council meeting to describe the job a company had done for the city.

In context, I knew it was a good and positive thing. I had definitely heard the word before, but an actual definition did not spring to mind.

So, the next day, I did what any good writer does — I looked it up.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the preferred version for journalists, fastidious means “showing or demanding excessive delicacy or care; reflecting a meticulous, sensitive, or demanding attitude.”

This word is definitely how you want to be able to describe a company that helps one stay in compliance with state and federal regulations as the mayor was describing.

As I wrote my story and used the word in a quote, I thought of it as the day’s vocabulary word.

Words and definitions have been important to another group of Chilton County residents in recent months — Chilton County Spelling Bee participants. Many of the words on the list are homophones (also called homonyms) and sound the same or very similar to other words. A definition is provided for these words, so students know which one to spell, assuming they know or studied the definitions.

The 2019 county-level spelling bee was held Feb. 6.

Some words were familiar. Others less so.

Did you know boodle is a real word? It was one of the words at this year’s county bee.

I had never heard of it.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, boodle means “a collection or lot of persons: caboodle, bribe money, a large amount especially of money.”

After 17 rounds, Clanton Middle School student Sydney Beltran won by correctly spelling ventilate.

While covering education, I have heard the term “lifetime learner” many times. The concept is that we should always be interested in learning new things and investing in knowing more to be a better person, employee, etc.

It’s a phrase I think fits many people in Chilton County. I hope after reading this column learning new words becomes a part of your goals as a lifetime learner.