word of the day

15 Jan 2014

The Wordnik website has a function called Word of the day where they give you an English word for the day with definitions and origins.
Not every word they offer is a useful one but some are and the great thing is if you get into the habit of looking at the page every day you still have to read the page to see if the word is useful or not.

What makes a word useful or not?

The Chinese daoist(Taoist in older texts) philosopher Zhuangzi wrote at length about what is useful and what is useless:

Huizi said to Zhuangzi: “All your teaching is centered on uselessness.”
Zhuangzi replied: “If you don’t understand what has no use, you cannot begin to talk about what can be used.
For example, the earth is broad and vast, but out of all this vastness, a person uses only a few inches, the place we happen to be standing at the time.
Now suppose we suddenly took away all that we are not actually using.
Suddenly, all around our feet a gulf yawns, and we stand in the void with nowhere solid except under each foot . . .
How long could we continue using only what we had been using?”
Huizi said: “Where we were standing would cease to serve any purpose.”
Zhuangzi concluded: “This shows the absolute necessity of what is considered to have no use.”

So here is the link to the Wordnik word of the day