WOW Word-Of-the-Week #413: Trivia

July 4, 2012 by  

Trivia – something of small importance.

Have you played the game Trivial Pursuit? Do you like to learn things even if they’re not really all that important? I LOVE learning FUN-facts as I call them!

And I learned something that I never knew last week when I was writing my WOW. I thought that ABCD was an acronym. Not so! The definition of acronym is – a pronounceable name made up of a series of initial letters or parts of words; for example, UNESCO for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

ABCD – Going Above the Call of Duty is actually an initialism (sometimes called alphabetism.) They are formed from the initial letters of a string of words and are pronounced as a sequence of letters, e.g. BYOB, USA, DVD. Acronyms are formed from the initial letters or parts of words in a sequence, but have the distinction of being pronounceable words, e.g. RADAR  RAdio Detecting And Ranging., SCUBA Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

Another bit of trivia is the word victuals. Have you ever seen this word? It’s definition is – food supplies; provisions. Did you ever watch the Beverly Hillbillies? Do you remember when granny talked about fixing vittles? That is how that word is pronounced. The C & the U have no bearing. I learned to read and spell using phonics so this one completely surprised me.

And my final bit of WOW trivia is the word forte which means – something in which a person excels. The correct pronunciation is fort not fortay. That pronunciation is Italian for a loud passage in music. This word is so commonly mispronounced that is has been accepted.

This week is all about trivia. How many things do you know that are of small importance? Is it okay to learn things even if they don’t really matter much? If we were playing Trivial Pursuit would I want to be on your team?

Reader Responses

“Thanks so much for the education – I was completely in the dark on all of your trivia!” – Mary

“I learned some new fascinating facts from your information. Thank you!” – MM

“As I tell my kids, the only board game that I enjoy playing is Trivial Pursuit. Probably because it is the only type of board game at which I excel. I just don’t like playing the other board games because of my lack of patience. I enjoy passing along bits and pieces of trivia to people I work with and family members. For example, I learned a long time ago that there was no period after the “S” in Harry S Truman because the letter did not stand for anything. Apparently, his parents could not decide which relative to name the future president for. Both relatives’ names started with the letter “S.” Also, the names of the people who were shot along with President Reagan. They were Press Secretary Jim Brady, Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy and Washington, DC, policeman Thomas Delahanty. Obviously, everyone remembers that the President was wounded, but a lot of people forget the others. They wound up becoming footnotes in history. Another of my favorites is the names of the people on the first issue of Sports Illustrated magazine in August of 1954: The Milwaukee Braves’ Eddie Mathews, New York Giants’ catcher Wes Westrum and umpire Augie Donatelli. These are fun, and you can’t help but enjoy feeling like the smartest person in the room. It is a little heady. I try to keep a lot of these things in the back of my mind whenever I read them. Finally, Richard Nixon’s middle name: Milhous. People are entertained by these things, but most people don’t know them or take the time to learn things besides what they need for work. The key is reading and remembering, even if it is information that is not necessary for getting by every day. For me, it is fun. Finally, who was Ross Perot’s running mate in 1992? It was Adm. James Stockdale, of course!” – “Warrior” Joe Moran.