Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I WAS DOING RESEARCH. Well, just researching the meaning of a word. I leafed through the ancient Webster’s – five and a half inches thick – lost in lists of words I would never know, let alone use.

Dad had built a stand for this gold-cloth-covered behemoth from plans in a handyman’s magazine back in the fifties. I’d thumbed through this volume before, but today I was thumbing through it again. Looking for “philoprogenitoveness.”

Didn’t find philoprogenitoveness.

Did find, tucked in at about page 742, a hundred dollar bill so old that I learned Ogden L. Mills was treasury secretary in 1932.

© 2009
Church of the Open Road Press


  1. The only place the word philoprogenitoveness shows up in literature is O. Henry's "The Ransom of Red Chief.

  2. While again caught spending more time than I should reading your posts I thought you should know that on page 4445 of my Century Dictionary I found the following:

    philoprogenitiveness - the love of offspring; the instictive love of young in general. Phrenologists locate its organ above the middle part of the cerebellum. One of those travelling chariots or family arks which only English philoprogenitiveness could invent. Thackeray, Pendennis, xxii

    Note: I belive it's origin, not organ.

    Matt Wood

  3. Hey Matt, thanks. I believe "organ" would work as well as "origin" in this context, given that Webster informs us: (2a) "a differentiated structure consisting of cells and tissues and performs some specific function." A portion of the brain, I suppose, could do this.

    Thanks for making me smarter by having to look something up. And thanks for reading...