2015-12-31 / Opinion


What’s the Good Word?

A s proprietors of a newspaper, we make our living with words. Not to diminish the importance of newspaper photographs, but there would be much less reason to have newspapers at all if there were no words to print.

A picture is worth a thousand words? It would have to be one heck of a photo.

Mindful of the value of words to a newspaper, we began our “Word of the Week” feature last Jan. 8 with the new feature running on page 5, top right-hand corner–the ”sweet spot” of any newspaper page.

The first weekly word? It was “somnambulist"–a person who walks while asleep. Fifty-one weeks later, we offer “pugnacious” as this week’s word. The weekly word has appeared in news stories, editorials, advertisements and photo captions.

We’ve gotten all sorts of feedback from hundreds of readers. One liked to greet our delivery person so she could quickly find the word of the week and, she hoped, be the 25th emailer to tell us what it means and where in the paper it appeared–and thereby win a $25 gift certificate from a revolving list of participating local restaurants.

Sometimes we heard that a word was too easy. In other weeks, it’s been just the opposite. Overall, readers seem to enjoy the hunt for the word best of all.

As writers, we’ve enjoyed incorporating challenging words into our stories. One such bon mot was “cremini,” another word for “mushroom.” That word, quite appropriately, appeared in a Feb. 5 nature story by Jack Kelly. Another such word was “bastion,” meaning “fortification,” that was used by writer Olga Enger in a June 4 story about Fort Adams.

We’ve had as much fun as you, our readers, over the past year debating the merits of this word or that for inclusion in our popular weekly contest.

As we stand at the threshold of 2016 we urge you, our “stalwart” readers, to keep reading Newport This Week–and its “Word of the Week” feature each “ensuing” week through the new year.

2015 Words of the Week

Somnambulist, compline, stentorian, chine, cremini, algid, dermabrasion, obfuscating, kells, bodhran, coadjuted, algal, precocial, deleterious, bifurcate, hebdomadal, tome, pelagic, umbrage, lapidary, eristic, bastion, jacquard, oenophile, intelligentsia, facetious, pennants, eponymous, stymie, venerables, ingénues, morphed, chukka, bellwether, palaver, apoplectic, carillon, muddle, stalwart, crumpets, gloaming, ensuing, nocturne, roux, polygynous, miasma, microsite, rufous, haberdashery, nascent, frieze

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