Hard to work into casual conversation


When was the last time you said, “Well, that’s chatoyant!”  I’m guessing, not recently, if ever.

Hubby asked me this morning, out of the blue, how to spell chatoyancy.

I, being my always articulate self, said, “Huh?”

He said the word had just crossed his mind (he’s got to stop working so many crossword puzzles!) and he couldn’t picture how to spell it.

I told him I didn’t remember ever hearing that word.  But he reminded me that years ago when he had given me an opal ring, I wore it to work and Art, a very well-spoken co-worker, told me the stone had beautiful chatoyancy.  I remember now that I came home and told Hubby the word that Art had used to describe my opal.  It made the stone sound soooo, special.

But I had long since forgotten the word, until Hubby brought it up this morning.  So, we started trying to look it up in the dictionary — shitoyency, shytoyency, chytoyency, chitoyency, chetoyency, chytoiency, you get the idea.  I’ve always said that using a dictionary has one major flaw — you have to have some idea of how to spell the word, in order to find it!  And, I have to say, I am never impressed with Spell Check.  I tried putting some variations into a text document and then used the Spell Check, and with each try it either suggested a really far out alternative word, or just said it had no suggestions.

But perseverance does pay off, and we finally found it.

chatoyant\sha-‘toi-ent\ n: [variation of the French word, chatoyer to shine like a cat’s eye]: having a changeable luster or color with an undulating narrow band of white light (a chatoyant  gem)

So, if you have a friend with an opal, look for a chance to use this word to impress her with your vocabulary! 

And, if you happen to find a way to use it in another context, be sure to let me know.  I’ll try to impress “Mr. Obscure Word” Hubby with it.

Happy Saturday!

5 Responses to Hard to work into casual conversation

  1. TZ says:

    oh my gosh, that would be a fantastic word for ‘fictionary’ or whatever that word-def game is called…i really thought you were going to make a joke about a made-up word about someone who chats a lot but with vibrancy….or something like that 😀

  2. Tomer Guez says:

    > I am never impressed with Spell Check.

    There is a good spell check program Spell Check Anywhere (SpellCheckAnywhere.Com). It works in all programs, including web, and blogs.

  3. Sandra says:

    TZ — It’s so nice to hear from you! I thought you had “defected” to Facebook! Hope the life of an RN is easier than the life of a student nurse! 🙂

    Tomer — Thank you for stopping by, and thanks for the tip on checking spelling. 🙂

  4. lynn says:

    Wow, this word is the coolest. I worked with the two-year-olds this morning at church, and we played with some stickers that had some very lovely chatoyancy to them 🙂 Wish I had known this word a couple hours ago.

  5. Sandra says:

    Lynn — I see stick play again next week?! 🙂

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