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“Facade,” “Loupe” and Memories of the SAT

I remember when I was in high school taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test — which was its name when I took it so many years ago — and seeing words I did not recognize but later learned I knew. But since I had never seen the word to that point, I never knew how it was spelled.

The example I recall is façade. In context, I knew it meant “a false, superficial, or artificial appearance.” Having never seen the word, I assumed it was spelled and pronounced Fa-SAAD. I thought you pronounced F-A-C-A-D-E as Fa-CAID, and I had no idea what its antonym was (old timers will no doubt remember the SAT vocabulary section called for you to find the word’s opposite).

I remembered this the other day when I read an article in Time magazine about a watchmaker trying to lead a manufacturing rebirth in Detroit. In the first paragraph, a sentence began, “With loupes to eyes, …”

I stopped and immediately though about façade. I’ve seen jewelers and photographers use a magnifier and call it a loop. Or so I thought because I knew the word loop from roller coasters and shoelaces. Having never seen the word loupe, I had no idea that I had spelled the magnifier incorrectly in my mind.

I shared this word tip at a networking meeting today, and the reaction I got told me that other people didn’t know it was called a loupe either.

It’s good to know we’re never too old to learn something new.

Until next time! Use the right words!


March 24, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,

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