April 1, 2009

Word of the Week—Opsimath

Posted in Word Fun tagged , , , at 10:47 pm by The Word Jar

Our Word of the Week is again from The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. What a book—two words I’ve never heard or seen before! Although I couldn’t find opsimath in my trusty Webster’s 11th, several online sources corroborated the definition from The Uncommon Reader: “one who learns only late in life.” Such a bittersweet definition—the thrill of learning something new late in life, but the disappointment of knowing that you could have been enjoying it so much sooner (or, a bit of a downer, realizing you have little time left to enjoy it).

The context of opsimath in The Uncommon Reader is that the Queen of England, at this late juncture in her life, takes up reading and finds she loves it. Although I’m not nearly as “late in life” as the Queen, there are things I hope to pick up in my adulthood. I would love to learn how to play the piano and the cello. I’d love to learn how to sail. I’d love to learn Spanish. And I’m sure there are a million things that I don’t even know about yet that I would love to learn. So, although I’m not technically an opsimath yet, I better get started on these things before I have to fully embrace that bittersweet title.

Are you an opsimath? What have you learned late(r) in life that you wish you would have picked up sooner?


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