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dictionary games?
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2013/01/25
4:31pm
New River, AZ, USA
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2010/05/18
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I was just listening to an older podcast I had missed. Grant & Martha were talking about how index words on the spines of encyclopedia volumes often made amusing combinations. Martha called it “poetry.” One example they gave was education evolution. Another was excretion geometry. Reminded me of an old game.

Back in high school, my friends and I played a game based on the same concept, but using index words on a page of a dictionary. The person holding the dictionary would (secretly) choose the page, then gave a clue which was essentially two synonyms for the index words. The person who got the right answer first was then awarded the dictionary for their own turn.

For example (just now opening to a random page of my Webster’s NCD … man, that thing was dusty … years since I took it off the shelf) and found a good index pair. Here’s the clue: new adornment.

You know the two words (probably, but not always) start with the same letter, and often the same two or three letters. I’m not presenting this as a puzzle. The answer is: fresh frill. You can check page 460 if you have the 1977 edition.   :)

My question is this. Did anyone else ever play this game? I didn’t make it up. It was taught to me, I think by a local librarian, or maybe an English teacher, who was just trying to get us kids to open up a dictionary and learn some new words. I wouldn’t ask this question anywhere but on this forum, for fear of being ostracized as too much the word geek. But that might happen anyway.

2013/01/25
6:44pm
RobertB
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Afraid your fear is properly justified.

2013/01/25
7:15pm
New River, AZ, USA
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2010/05/18
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Expected that response, but thought I’d give it a shot. Curious about whether it was a local thing (Wisconsin) or actually made the rounds. I searched for it online and couldn’t find anything even close to the game we played. And there’s a lot of word game sites out there. Of course, you have to have a real dictionary in your hands to play this game. Online dictionaries are pretty much one page one word.

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