There are people I love, and things that I value, but why would I talk about “a treasure I have”? Today’s prompt conjures images of Gollum – “my treasure, my preciousssssss…” – images of bragging in some seedy pub and begging for pirates to show up with shovels to dig holes in my lawn.

But one treasure that is sometimes hidden, sometimes buried, and impossible to steal is my imagination and love of wordplay. Did you know that the word “thesaurus” comes from Latin and Greek words meaning a treasury of words?

thesaurus (n.) Look up thesaurus at Dictionary.com1823, “treasury, storehouse,” from Latin thesaurus “treasury, a hoard, a treasure, something laid up,” figuratively “repository, collection,” from Greek thesauros “a treasure, treasury, storehouse, chest,” related to tithenai “to put, to place,” from reduplicated form of PIE root *dhe- “to set, put.” The meaning “encyclopedia filled with information” is from 1840, but existed earlier as thesaurarie (1590s), used as a title by early dictionary compilers, on the notion of thesaurus verborum “a treasury of words.” Meaning “collection of words arranged according to sense” is first attested 1852 in Roget’s title. Thesaurer is attested in Middle English for “treasurer” and thesaur “treasure” was in use 15c.-16c.

“Thesaurus.” Online Etymology Dictionary. Accessed July 7, 2017.

My parents would never just give me a straight answer to questions like, “What does eleemosynary mean?” or “How do you spell broccoli?” They would point to the unabridged dictionary on its stand, saying, “We never guess; we look it up.” For a brief time, that threatened to squelch my curiosity, not encourage it. But in the end, that treasure trove of tempting words beckoned, and I, grudgingly curious, trundled across the room to look it up. Not only did I acquire a head full of words, I learned to do my own research – digging into the treasury before my parents could point and send me there. A new dictionary rests, open, on that stand today. And my kids know how to use it, before I have a chance to say, “We never guess, we look it up.”

That’s a treasure that lasts.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6. Want to read more bloggers’ #WTFOW posts? Click here. If you enjoy our posts, please share them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or your other favorite social media sites, using the hashtags #writetribe #writebravely #festivalofwords. And comment! Don’t forget to comment! We love to hear from you.

18 thoughts on “Treasure”

  1. Good luck in the festival…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You see, your parents did you a favour by doing that.
    Because all that early “word reading”….
    Helped you teach yourself to write.

  2. Ah yes – the dictionary is a treasure trove of new words – and a thesaurus is an invaluable tool for writers. I have a couple on my bookshelf that I refer to often!

  3. Wow! I absolutely love your parents’ approach of instilling a wonderful habit in you.
    “We never guess; we look it up.”… this is something that I am going to use it too 😀
    Thanks for sharing, Holly 🙂

  4. I looked out for your post yesterday and am glad I managed to find it before it got too late. Oh I love the dictionary too and feel quite bad to see it lying on my book shelf ( although well thumbed) when I look up words on the internet instead…..I completely agree with you about how precious it is….

  5. All the best for the festival! My parents did the opposite with me. They gave me ‘approximate’ or ‘estimted’ meanings of words and that bothered me. That’s where my love for the dictionary came into being. Indeed, one’s imagination is a great treasure.

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