Dictionary.com Word of the Day
Sunday November 25, 2012
amygdaliform \uh-MIG-duh-luh-fawrm, adjective:
Shaped like an almond.
Amygdaliform derives from the Greek amygdale, “almond.” -form is the common suffix denoting “in the shape of.” A portion of the human brain is known as the amygdala, named for its resemblance to almonds.
WTF?! Pardon my abbreviation, but I’m gob-smacked. I love words; I like to learn new words. I like to use the new words I learn. That’s why I have Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day on my home page. Most of the time the words are fairly ordinary, well-known words, but just occasionally they are new and useful. Fun, even. I particularly enjoy the quirky ones–they’re the most fun to use. But can anyone tell me why Dictionary.com would think that the above entry would be a useful word for all of us word-afficianados to know?
I, of course, can think of dozens of sentences using “amygdaliform.” Okay, I can only think of one, and that was it. So what, pray tell, is the point? To use the more natural phrase, ‘almond-shaped’ is exactly the same number of letters (not counting the hyphen). Be honest now–if someone used amygdaliform in normal conversation or writing, wouldn’t you think “What a berk. He’s just showing off.” Of course you would.
I understand that there may be some sort of professional application for such a word, but I’m not quite sure what profession that would involve. Perhaps weird furniture designers (or, indeed, designers of weird furniture) would use it. Or boutique candy-makers. I can see the ads now:
Try our wonderful new amygdaliform bonbons–filled with marzipan and raspberry
The latest in Bed Design–amygdaliform mattresses!
Well, maybe not… But I’m sure you get my point. It’s not a word I’ll be using any time soon. MM