Summary: What's your ideal car? What's your ideal word to describe your ideal car? Get ready for a fun game you, too, can play with your very own in-laws—or any of your friends who share the same nerdy interests as you (and me and my in-laws) ...
You'd be surprised how often words come up in my casual conversations—as subject matter, that is. A couple of weekends ago, for instance, while hanging out with my sisters-in-law (who, I was thrilled to learn, are new fans of the blog), we started talking about various colloquialisms. A little bit later, my brother-in-law, a mechanic who owns his own shop (and for whom cars come up in casual conversation all the time) started a fun game of assigning ideal car types to all of us sitting around the table. But when it came to assigning a car to our 20-year-old nephew, our nephew balked.
"Why is that my ideal car?" He didn't think it suited him.
But my brother-in-law tried to enlighten him: "No, it's sports-like, but country—er, you know, country-like. But sophisticated. ... What's the word?" He looked at me. "There's got to be a word that means both active and country with sophistication."
I ran through my mental list: "Jaunty?"
"No. You were closer with rustic, but that doesn't convey the sports part."
"But it's definitely not sporty?"
"No." I whipped out my cell phone and jumped online, heading straight to one of my favorite sites, OneLook.com. After an introduction to this site to everyone at the table (and a little discussion about whether or not reverse dictionaries are technically cheating at crossword puzzles), I ran through the list—and that's when I spotted a word that caught everyone's attention: today's WOW, agrestic.
Agrestic (uh - GRES - tik) - rural, rustic, unpolished or awkward. While it doesn't mean all of these definitions at once, but rather one (the first two words) or the other (the last two), its origins come from the Latin agrest, or fields. It entered English around 1620.
**NOTE: Be sure to click the little sound symbol next to the word if you follow the link above in an effort to hear the pronunciation.**
We never did quite find the exact right word that my brother-in-law was searching for. I settled in on jaunty and used it with relish for the rest of the night—much to my nephew's chagrin. Funny, I don't even remember the car ...
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