The following lists illustrate common everyday words arranged by subject that portray often overlooked trivia about word formation. They help to remind us that words and the objects that words symbolize [or represent] are actually two different things. Simply stated, words suggest parts of objective reality. They speak about particular facets, functions, and resemblance's but seldom, if ever, capture the entire reality.
Each word [name] below was chosen for a special reason. Can you tell the reasons why each of these words were chosen to symbolize their respective objects?
Special Note: some of the spellings on these lists may be incorrect. - E.M.
Living Room Objects: window, sofa, armchair, recliner, rockingchair, footrest, television, VCR, remote, light, air conditioner, fireplace, hands [of clock], [television or TV] screen, [window] screen, [movie] screen, drapes
Dining Room Objects: silverware, china
Kitchen Objects: range, microwave, toaster, refrigerator, freezer, sink, glass, dish [disc], fork, wastebasket, dust pan, garbage disposal
Bedroom Objects: glasses, comforter, closet, radio, telephone, blinds, [lamp] shade, headboard
Bathroom Objects: vanity, sink, drain, toothbrush, mouthwash, aftershave, plunger
Basement Objects: fruitcellar, boiler, heater, washer, dryer, freezer, hardware, [paint] roller
Garage Objects: bicycle, tricycle, motorcycle, automobile, bigwheel, lawn mower, extension cord, lock, wing nut
Automobile Parts: bumper, headlight, blinker, radiator, idlerarm, A-frame, spring, shock, balljoint, wiper, hood, manifold, distributor, coil, heater, glove compartment, glovebox, transmission, sunroof, differential, trunk, tail pipe, exhaust pipe, radio, speakers
Places: basement, living room, dining room, bedroom, bathroom, drugstore, Quicktrip, Stop-N-Go, 7-Eleven, subway, vineyard, Pacific [Ocean]
Buildings: White House, Pentagon, supermarket
Foods: ice cream, pineapple, peanuts, watermelon, orange, grape, strawberry, blueberry, squash, acorn squash, bell pepper, hot-dog, jellybean, crackers, cotton candy, snow cone, pancake, cupcake, ice cube
Plants: cattail, daisy, sunflower, fir tree
People: shorty, skinny, fatty, blob, whale, speedy, snail, bookworm, nerd, jock, crowd
Body Parts: eyebrow, forehead, tailbone
Clothing: sweater, sweatshirt, sweatpants, underwear, undies, tongue [of shoe], [neck] tie, [eye] glasses, wrist watch
Sports Items: bowling ball, soccer ball, football, baseball, tennis ball, basketball, beach ball, golf ball
Animals: goldfish, fly, fruitfly, dragonfly, firefly, lightningbug, glowbug, flea
Holidays: Passover, Christmas, Thanksgiving
Seasons: Fall, Spring
Computer Terms: mouse, mouse pad, monitor, keyboard, disk, CD, memory, laptop, World Wide Web, Web site, internet [not internets, mind you], firewall, screen name, chat room, spam, virus, homepage, LCD
Outdoor Objects: sprinkler, [door] handle, doorbell, snowman
Transportation: carriage, locomotive, curb, highway, bow [of ship], submarine, spaceship, astronaut
Misc. Objects: transistor, resistor, capacitor, microphone, microscope, telescope, earring, bracelet, watch, necklace, backpack, lipstick, crabgrass, swimsuit, swimming pool, post-its, folder, notebook, envelope, eraser, rubberband, calculator, typewriter, cash register, bookend, globe, newspaper, headlines, yellow pages, triangle, walker, currency, cell phone, makeover, perm, congress, handle, building, wallboard, floorboard, baseboard, fireworks, skeleton crew, [fishing] lure
Though it may be fairly easy to discern the reasons why most of the above words were chosen to symbolize [or represent] their respective objects, the truth is that I could have chosen just about any word in existence. However, I made the effort to choose fairly easy to decipher words.
What some people generally overlook is that people should be able to decipher the historical meanings for practically every word. That is, if people are truly knowledgeable about the history of words they should be able to explain how each and every word got its name, along with what each and every word was originally intended to symbolize and/or represent.
Further Reading ...
After looking at these lists, it may become evident that words are used to remind, or to call attention to what objects appear to be, appear to do, or appear to resemble. In other words, words serve to capture parts and pieces of objects, so to speak.
In cases where we find objects named according to their basic resemblance to other objects and/or other facets of objects, we often find the known used to describe the unknown. Or a part used to describe a whole. Thus, numeric, written, genetic, and/or computer language for example.
There are also times when the same symbol or sound, in fact the very same word, is apparently used to describe two or more different objects. As with the word orange. The meaning for orange must be derived according to its particular context [relationship] with other words and this becomes especially true when looking for the meanings to several other words as well. Accordingly, sight and sound provide most of the real context between various parts of the known world. For another example, consider how a live and a written speech are usually very different in character. For example - even though a live speech may in fact involve a written speech - give the same written speech to another person and the live performance comes out differently. Believe it or not, this is exactly what happens every time a particular observer looks at, talks about, or repeats a sentence about any particular object.
What does all of this suggest? Perhaps it helps to remind us that the medium in which any particular object resides, is in fact, not any particular object at all. That, in fact, this is a living medium. This is a living witness. And serving the memorable copyright of same. - E.M.
Further Reading ...
Page last updated 05/15/10