February 14, 2020
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Anu Garg

The founder of wordsmith.org with its popular feature, A.Word.A.Day, on his new book, The Dord, the Digelot, and an Avocado or Two

Anu Garg
Anu Garg
An unusual name for a book.

It features words—unusual and everyday—and their origins. The title picks just three of hundreds of words discussed.

Do you think word origins draw readers?

Like a human being, each word has a story. To understand a word, we need to learn where it was born, what paths it took to reach where it is today and how it has changed along the way. The word "nice" is a positive word today, but hundreds of years ago it meant "stupid".

Where do you find words like deipnosophist or anabiosis?

In the biggest book of all—the dictionary.

Tell us about your fascination with words?

Words in a person’s wordstock are like paints on a palette. It helps to have just the right shade when you need it.

English isn’t your mother tongue.

No matter where we live, we have to use words. Once you’ve been looking into words, their stories, it’s easy to fall in love with them.

How did you start A.Word.A.Day?

It was a way to share my love of words. It began as a hobby and spread by word of mouth. Currently there are more than 5,70,000 subscribers in about 200 countries.

Was Wilfred Funk an inspiration?

He’s written excellent books, but his focus was more on vocabulary as a utility. I’ve found there’s so much more to words.

Who in your opinion is the best wordsmith in the English language?

There are many. Each has his/her own strength.

Do you remember any of your UP Hindi?

Hindi is my mother tongue. Even though I do not get to use it as often, it’s still a part of me.

What’s next?

I continue to explore words, research their origins, and share them with readers.

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