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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