Do you have memories of the first time you learnt a new word?
I think I was about five when I learnt the word 'cozy'. I had made a little "house" for myself out of two chairs and a bedsheet and I had made a bed there and was making myself and my dolls a cup of "coffee" with flour, water and sand when my mom's friend came over. She saw my "house" and said. "What a nice cozy little house! Is it cozy in there??" No one needed to tell me what the word meant. I knew it in my heart. 'Cozy' became my favorite word and remained a favorite for a loooong time.
Another word I remember learning was (oh oh....not so good a word) 'damn!'.......... Ha!! When I first heard it said, I thought the person was saying 'dam' like a water dam. I had a dog called Dashie as a kid. She was half Dachshund and half Pomeranian. She was a funny but cute looking dog. When an older friend saw her for the first time, he said "Your dog looks dam(n) cute!" I thought, since water dams are usually beautiful places, dam(n) means something beautiful. And so I bravely used the word at the dinner table when a missionary was invited over for supper. I asked him "Have you been to Pachalur? The place is damn beautiful!" There was a short silent pause. The missionary raised his eyebrows and my parents were embarrassed. I was asked to explain where I learnt that word and my parents heaved a sigh of relief that in my mind it wasn't actually a "bad" word. Anyway, I learnt my lesson. I don't use that word any more!!!
Growing up in a Christian community, I never used bad language. Never felt the need for it. The worst words I used to use were 'stupid' or 'fool' and such. So the stories of how and when I first heard foul language and what I thought the words were are really funny!!! I cant put them all down here on my blog because my parents and people from that community who read my blog (but never come out to tell me they did!!!) would be scandalized. Anyway, let me say that when I thought people were saying axe oil, a little kitten, a groovy kind of music etc. they were actually meaning much worse!!!
Here are some good words I remember learning - epitome - from what a person who once had the chance and rare privilege of sitting next to Mother Teresa on a flight said of her "She is the epitome of kindless".
scope- From my favoritest of favorite books Anne of Green Gables. She talks about "scope for imagination"
Oh there are many more! My brain is very fond of making associations and almost every word has a picture attached to it!! But for now, to share with you, these are just a few!