Monthly Archives: May 2012

Ken — no Barbie

Ken (other than a proper name) is not a word that us used much.  There is a word “ken” that means range of vision or sight.  It also means understanding or cognizance.  It can also mean to know of or be acquainted with a person or thing.

An example would be that astrophysics (among other things) is beyond my ken.

In the British dialect it can mean to declare, acknowledge or confess something.

Graphwords Get the picture

This article appeared in the Northern Colorado Writers May 2012 newsletter.

Like my fellow Northern Colorado Writers, I love words.  A little over year ago I was thrilled when Kerrie Flanagan had the “Flip Dictionary” in stock at the studio.  What a fun tool and useful too it can be.

This great pseudo-thesaurus works well, but I it doesn’t exactly suit my style of learning.  Of the three modes of learning, (visual, auditory and kinesthetic), I am definitely take in my information primarily in visual form.

For example, tell me orally how to get to your house or place of business, and I may or may not get there.  Draw a map, and I will be there!   The best thing I ever did was buy a car with GPS.  Now, I can find my way on the map, and ignore that pesky lady who keeps telling me when and where to turn next.

Unfortunately, my wife of more than four decades doesn’t always remember how I process information. On occasion, she will tell me she stopped by a realtor’s open house to check out the place.  She proceeds to tell me in words how the house was laid out.  After her detailed explanation, I haven’t the foggiest idea the relationship of room.  If she would draw a diagram or give me a floor plan, I would be much better off.

So, this all brings me to a tool I found on the internet. I am excited to share it with all of you. It’s called Graphwords. (  This educational website is fun and free.  All you have to do enter a word, and it will give you a mind map/bubble chart of how this word links to other related words.

Just for fun, I played around with pairs of words on Graphwords.  Try this yourself, looking at the word love then the word hate.  It is interesting to contrast the term fear with confidence too.

Other fun words I tried were book and write. Not wanting to burn up too much time, I stopped there.

What words did you try on Graphwords?

Blonde or blond — Which is it?

Is it blonde or blond? (No blonde jokes allowed) 

Recently, while doing a review edit of a friend’s book, the topic of how to use the word blonde (or blond) came up. After some research, here is what I found. In general, the word “blond” refers to the color, whether it is of hair, wood, or anything else. ”

Blonde,” however, refers only to a woman or a girl with blond hair. A man with blond hair is a blond (without the “e”), though. Confusing, huh? Some sources say “blond” is used when describing males or those of uncertain gender.

When you want to use the word as an adjective, it is more common to use “blond” for either males or females.

A historical note: “blond” is first found in English in 1481, It is derived from and Old French word, blund or blont. It is used to define any color midway between golden and light chestnut.