Friday, February 08, 2008

What Does It Mean To You?

I was doing homework with my son the other day. One of his math questions had something to do with a bunch of colored marbles in a bag. There were, like, 15 green ones, 10 red ones, 8, yellow ones and 3 black ones. Or something like that. The question asked which was the rarest marble. and my son said the green ones. Okay. So I asked him what "rare" meant. He said it was something that was really great. I have no idea where he got that from so I did the parent thing and made him look it up in his dictionary. He has "Webster's Dictionary for Students". According to the cover, it was developed especially for students.

He looks up the word and reads, "not thick or compact". Huh? So I tell him there has to be another definition. There was. He reads, "cooked so that the inside is still red". Wait a minute. None of these definitions have anything to do with his homework or the definition I think most people would come up with when pressed for an answer. I snatched the book from his hands and pored over the definitions. Not until you come to "rarely" do you get "not often". A closer look finds "very uncommon" as the third definition of "rare" after "not thick or compact" and "very fine".

I don't know what my point was in writing this. And that's pretty rare.