Thursday, September 13, 2007

Finding the Elusive Tarradiddle and Other Uses for a Thesaurus

Tarradiddle--it's a read word and I think its a wonderful thing. I'm sixty years old, relatively well educated, a long-time writer, and never, ever, had I run across the word "tarradiddle" until last month. What does it mean? Twaddle, humbug, baloney, bilgewater, bosh, and drool, that's what it means, and those words themselves are very fine, too. Just listen to nonsense embedded in those syllables--twaddle? humbug? Really.

So, how, finally, after most of a lifetime, did I happen upon this addition to my lexicon? I have this computerized thesaurus called The Visual Thesaurus. When I write, I keep it up and running so I can refer to it easily. Lots of fun, really. When you type in a word, there is an explosion of synonyms on the screen like a flower blossoming. I needed a word that would mean--well, twaddle, humbug, and bosh, but something different. Up came "tarradiddle." At first I figured it wasn't a real word--a mistake. In fact, the spell checker on my Word program underlines it in red, meaning, of course, that the word "tarradiddle" is misspelled or doesn't exist. I double checked. It's real, just as real as humbug or bilgewater.

Into my writing it went and I can't wait to use in on some unsuspecting friend during casual conversation. And that's one of the dandy things about writing and using all this modern technology: surprises like tarradiddle. I recommend you get a good thesaurus and use it liberally. It will enrich your writing and your conversation, and that's no tommyrot or tosh.

1 comment:

8thgradewritingteacher said...

From my fourth period class:
Tarradiddle is AWESOME!!!

We will work on finding some more interesting words for you. Maybe you can put them in your book.

By the way, did you know that "Parlez-vous loup-garou?" means "Do you speak werewolf?" in French?