Curiosity Wall

What’s In A Word?

It is estimated that there are well over a million words in the English language. Within this lexical web lie many different patterns which give it such richness and variety. From Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Xanadu” to the vivid description of William Blake’s “Tyger,” great poets have long harnessed the power of the English language, peppering their verse with nouns, verbs, adjectives, and all the many other linguistic morsels it encompasses.

In Language and Literature lessons, students are encouraged to explore the purpose and effect of these many words that surround us. Where do these words come from? How have they developed over time, and how exactly does the weird and wonderful English language help us make sense of the ever changing world?


Etch - (v.): mark a surface with a carved text or design.


(v.): mark a surface with a carved text or design.

Homework: a word we all detest. Seriously, I come back from the school day tired and half-asleep, mortified to find myself examining piles of homework. I shouldn’t have to devote my worn out body to hour after hour of homework. I should be rejuvenating myself through killing virtual civilians on my glorious Xbox One.

Yet, I am forced to “etch” line after line into crisp, white paper. Hunching my back over tiny wooden desks, as I squint at senseless math problems, half-asleep.

In fact, I am writing this very piece half-asleep, etching these words onto my computer. Each character seemingly spelling out one word: h-o-m-e-w-o-r-k. In fact, I only see etching as a vile, cacophony of sounds when I associate it with homework, being the evil thing it is. Otherwise, etching can be drawing, creative writing, etc. It can be fun!

However, when I am reminded of the papers on my desk, or the graphite streaks, I can’t help shudder inwardly. Maybe it’s due to the nature of “etch”, being a cacophony. Designed to be harsh and dissonant…

Or maybe it’s just homework…

However, if I was to miss this torture, this etching enslavement, I would suffer three times more. For teachers and parents alike would turn into ferocious beasts wearing human clothing, as spittle flies from their mouths, whilst shrieking at you, demanding reasons for not subjecting yourself to the paper. Or they would turn into the seducer, whispering in your ear, disappointed in you, crushing you in guilt.

Let’s just say it won’t be pretty.

Therefore, I sit at my desk, my back hunched, as I continue to “etch” into the crisp white paper, only the sounds of graphite striking the sheet filling the silence.


Click - (n.): a slight, sharp sound


(n.): a slight, sharp sound

Comparing a personal computer (PC) to a console is like comparing a 16 inch cannon to a spitball. To put that into perspective, a 16 inch cannon fires a shell carrying 2,000 pounds of explosives while a spitball is a piece of paper covered in saliva. The power of a PC is unmatched. The poor console gamers will never understand the heavenly sound of a keyboard and mouse clicking away. Ahh, I can hear the Hallelujah chorus.

The click of a keyboard is the most satisfying sound one can make. Its sharp clear note peals through the air like a bell. Even now as I write this piece, I am near the point of salivation. The click is a holy sound. Typing may not be my favorite thing to do in the world but as soon as I hear the soothing sound of typing, I have fallen under the spell of those majestic keys. Sometimes I will sit down at my desk and type anything just to hear the sound of my fingers against plastic. Good times.  

I may not like to admit it, but I have a serious addiction to the untold beauty of the click. Just saying the word sounds so satisfying, try it yourself. The ‘ck’ of the world is angelic, no other sound that exist can beat this sound of the gods. Just listen and let the sound wash over you.

The melody of a keyboard and mouse gives you such a feeling of what you have accomplished with it. Each note seems to speed up your progress. The poor console peasants with their triggers, track pads and sticks are so obsolete. Not only can we, the PC Master Race overlords write messages with speeds untold by console players but we have dozens more keys with hundreds of different functions.

Those underlings are so limited by their controllers. With just over a dozen buttons, they are limited to the caveman tradition of using the analog stick to select which letter or number they want to write; this to a keyboard is like comparing a mini van to a Ferrari. The choice for speed and comfort is obvious. Is it not?

As I write, the click of the keyboard and mouse satisfies me, it fills me with warmth. Nothing can compare to this blissful and divine sound. All hail the PC master race.

Reload - (v.): to refresh content on document or page.


(v.): to refresh content on document or page.

Those who know me find me quite a patient person. But honestly, let me tell you, I for sure AM NOT when it comes to the internet. There’s nothing worse than your network shutting down on you when you’re trying to download the new album of Selena Gomez or One Direction on Itunes.

Sometimes I think that it won’t be a bad idea to reload as a person. To refresh everything inside my mind and chill out. Maybe take a nap, or just sit on the couch while eating a bag of Doritos in front of TV.

But no.

That’s not how it normally works for me. My sort of way to “chill”, is to be on my phone and check the latest news on my social media. Or another one of my favorites is trying to beat my previous score for how long I can spend on YouTube, (this is normal right?). Though if the wifi isn’t working properly, then nothing is right. Nothing!

FACT: Did you know that having slow wifi actually teaches you a big secret about yourself? For example how LITTLE PATIENCE YOU REALLY HAVE! My patience limit is about.. hmm.. I’d say.. 2 seconds!

And  everything you click on takes about 10 hours to load, but does it actually load? NO! ‘connection cannot be found.’ What drives me the crazy is that spinny icon button that appears when you try to reload the page. Like how long does it take?! I actually think that T-Mobile doesn’t deserve this many fans. They don’t even do their job correctly!

Think about the word itself. R-e-l-o-a-d. I actually imagine each letter trying to communicate in slow motion “I will never load”.

I honestly have to say that wifi and technology make me mad. Like Hulk.  Music is quite important in my life, and when I can’t download some of my favorite albums while laying upside down on my bed, that’s not cool.

Really not cool.

Scribble - (v.): write or draw carelessly or hurriedly


(v.): write or draw carelessly or hurriedly

Oh, how I used to love to do it. When I was five I would spend hours in my little coloring book scribbling pictures of butterflies and flowers and coloring them in, making sure that I didn’t go outside the lines…

That was the life.

Unfortunately, life got the better of me and before I knew it I was scribbling like Speedy Gonzalez through the many math quizzes that began to plague my life through middle school. Now I often find myself on a Friday afternoon, in an exam room staring at a math test with a blank expression consuming my face.

Welcome to my world!

I peer at the paper (silently crying inside) and look at the first question: 5y+36b-2n=?

Oh great God of Math… what does this mean? This isn’t what I studied for! Three hours last night practically getting shoved down the toilet! Sorry, let’s get back on topic. Where was I? Oh yeah, I’m staring at my test…

Calm down Milo, you’ve got this.

I don’t think so!

You’ll be fine.

I’m going to fail! I can practically feel my teachers white hot rage.

Just breathe.

How could this get any worse?

I peek at the clock. Ten minutes left. Oh great… plastic bag, anyone?

I have to do it. I have to…

Don’t say it!

I have to…

Oh no!

I have to…

Here it comes!

I have to…


You might be a bit confused as to why I am freaking out about scribbling. Well, keep listening…

I am a PERFECTIONIST. Since the days of butterflies and crayola (ahh, sweet memories), I have always enjoyed putting pen to paper and getting creative. What would Leonardo Da Vinci say if he heard me moan about scribbling? He’d probably charge at me with a knife, eager to cut my ear off too, for a life without scribbling is for many an artist a life not worth living!

But in a Math test… No way, Jose!! I should be writing my fractions down with ease…

Scribble – The double ‘b’s’ can create such an ear-infecting stress, a staccato hurricane of disaster. It certainly feels this way when scribbling under pressure.

Don’t get me wrong, it can be awesome too! Some people’s lives are literally JUST scribbling.

However, this is a test. If I went trailing across the world, and asked every single human if they would like to be scribbling for dear life in a math test, they would all say NO! (If you didn’t, you’re probably not a human being in general.) So you see, I don’t want to be in this situation…


I look up to see my test instructor with his hand out, clearly gesturing that the test is over.

So there you have it. I continue to daydream about my glorious childhood, the one where I could scribble all I wanted. That was DEFINITELY the life! But, what can I say, I’ve got to stick to reality. Scribble. Tests. When both words are combined, it’s a recipe of disaster. Scribbling in a test. Oh, how I hate it!


Slap (v): sharp blow or smack


(v): sharp blow or smack

I remember the first time I got slapped. My sister left a red burning mark on my face. Not only do I hate the memory but I also hate the word. Listen to the sound of it. Go on, say it! Do you hear it? That evil sharp P at the end?


Anyway, let’s get back to the point, instead of mumbling on about how horrible the word “slap” is.

Have you ever experienced a freezing cold day? Not in a movie, I mean physically, in reality? Have you ever gone to the supermarket or out with the dog, not because you wanted to enjoy the snow, but because somebody else insisted that you come outside and have a “nice walk in the park?”

I’d rather stay in bed.

When I was living in Germany, I had to walk to catch the school bus. During winter months, when the cold slapped me, I realized that not only had I often forgotton my gloves and hat, but I was also definitely wearing the wrong shoes too. I would never bother going back, so I crossed the ice on leather soles. I was so angry with myself. Still am.

This is why… many times I slipped and slapped my face deep into the snow. Yes, dear reader, you have read correctly I said “slapped,” or at least that is how it felt.

Bavaria is famous for its romantic, cozy, magical Christmas markets. I love Christmas Markets: drinking warm, tasty hot chocolate, the smell of fresh baked gingerbread and twinkling lights everywhere. Yes sure, you might have fun scoffing festive treats and building snowmen and having a snowball fights with your best friends, but as soon as you turn around to go home…SLAP… and the next thing you know is that your face is burning in the cold ice and snow!

My sister is creeping up while I write this you know. I wonder what she wants? Another chance to hit me most probably. Luckily I can type with one hand; the other is poised, ready to stop the inevitable blow.

Tick (v.): a slight, sharp, recurring beat, as of a clock.


(v.): a slight, sharp, recurring beat, as of a clock.

It’s 3:29pm on a Friday afternoon. The clock sits there… Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock. I just want to leave, but the clock mocks me with every move it makes. If it wasn’t for teachers there would be no clock. I would rip it from that darn wall! Does anyone have a hammer?

As I am getting dismissed, teachers come in and start blabbing about what homework I have to do. Blabbing… funny word isn’t it. If you say it enough times it sounds a bit odd….blabbing, blabbing, blabbing, blabbing. Sorry… I’m waffling now aren’t I – let’s get back to the point.

We can never quite avoid listening intently to the ticking of that clock during the last moments of a school day. How desperately we want to get out to play away on our Xbox or kick a ball across Central Park. The moments of ticking can be absolute torture.

Sometimes ticking is good though. I start to tick when I am asked a problem, like in math. When I am asked a math problem I start to tick, tick, tick, tick. My mind starts to work wonders with its many cogs and wheels.

Not that I stay in this positive frame of mind for long, because yet again, at the end of a Friday afternoon  it’s 3:29 and there’s that sound again! Curse the ticking!

Wheel (n.): circular object that revolves on an axle


(n.): circular object that revolves on an axle

“The wheels on the bus go round and round…” Ah memories of singing that song repeatedly in nursery class.

As a kid I remember being so excited to go onto the bus and venture on an exciting journey. Well, that was a long, long time ago.

Okay, hear me out, this might seem like I’m rambling on about my hatred of buses… well actually, I am.

You know those days in which you just want to go home and sleep after an extremely long day of school where there has been pop quizzes galore…well that’s when the bus just can’t possibly get any worse, or so you think…

When you get onto the bus and there is often one seat left and the person next to you wants it too, so by this point it is every man for himself. Before you know it, you are staring each other down.

I’m always the one who ends up standing for probably fifteen minutes but what feels like has an hour. The bus just seems to be going in circles! The wheels going round and round and round….

And then there’s the grumpy bus driver who looks in the rearview mirror and starts to criticise us riders under his breath. How rude.

Yes the bus wheels do go round and round and I think it’s likely I will be getting off at the very next stop.


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