by Curt Kovener
Education is a lifelong process. Particularly when one must use words in his line of work.
I do have diplomas somewhere that say I completed high school and college classes, but most of my knowledge came from HKU…Hard Knocks University. Seat of the pants learning is painful but it does stick with you throughout the years.
While English and writing were a part of my Grade 1 through high school sophomore school experience, it was CHS junior and senior English classes with Mrs. Lewis that intrigued and perplexed me. Now for more than 40 years, I have gotten paid to write.
We all know that a synonym is a word that means the same as another: small or tiny or petite. Sometimes I use a synonym when I can’t spell the word I really want.
We all know antonyms are words that mean the opposite: there are happy and sad test takers, tall and short mixed drinks (depending on your level of thirst or frustration at work), and the bitter sweet memories of a first romance.
There is also the nearly alike sounding anatonym where a part of the body is used as a verb. We toe the line, foot the bill, face the music, belly up to the bar.
Completing this A-section of onyms is the aptronym: a name that is suited to the profession of its owner. Names like Dan Druff the barber, Dr. Wee the urologist, James Bugg a pest exterminator, the late astronaut Sally Ride (not to be confused with the chorus of Mustang Sally), Jim Kick the football player, and two Cross Country runners from my college days: Ralph Foote and Jim Legg (I jest you not).
Then there is the capitonym, a word that changes pronunciation and meaning when it is capitalized. For instance, long-suffering Job secured a job to polish piles of Polish brass. Or in another instance, An herb store owner, named Herb, moved to ranier Mt. Ranier. It would have been so nice in Nice and even tangier in Tangier.
Thanks to Richard Lederer for reminding me of these lessons.