I am a wordy sort of person. I take a lot of notes. I make a lot of Facebook posts. I send a lot of emails, texts, Slack messages, tweets and whatever else using any medium at-hand to communicate in writing.
(I also talk a lot, but that's another post.)
With all this writing going on, I need to be able to take down words quickly. While I am on a computer with a keyboard most of the day, there are many moments where I need to jot something down or respond quickly, using only my phone. And I hate individually clicking each tiny letter on those tiny phone keyboards for ants. I feel like a nearsighted Luddite grandma, laboriously pecking out words one letter at a time and peering at the screen to verify it's the one I wanted. It is, in fact, so tedious and slow that I've usually forgotten what I wanted to say by the time I got halfway through the sentence. #Fail.
Enter: the Swype Keyboard, a predictive text keyboard with "continuous gesture typing." You basically run your finger over the letters that spell out the word you intended, and Swype somehow "knows" what you meant. It works like so in this screenshot here (fancy photo from Swype's Web site):
The nice thing is, it knows which similar words will use adjacent keyboard characters, and it offers several suggestions listed below the text field that you can quickly select instead.
I adore Swype. I use it constantly, even more than voice-to-text (which rarely "hears" my new paragraphs and often requires more correction time than it would have taken to type the stupid thing). I have used it at several Consumer Shows at Switchyards to take notes verbatim, an act which always mesmerizes anyone sitting nearby.
Swype bills itself as "the fastest and most intuitive keyboard on the planet," and ... okay. It's certainly fast. And most of the time, it's intuitive. But I've discovered that there are certain words Swype just gets stubborn about, no matter how often I decline to select them. And it sometimes comes up with words I've never heard of, either as the right word in the text box or as the related suggestions.
You know where I'm going here, right? If you said, "Collect them for a blog post about those weird suggestions and definitions of the words you don't know because you are a big nerd," you'd be correct! (I am so full of fun things to do over here, y'all, it's just so surprising I don't get asked to parties more...)
So let's dig in! (Note: If there were relatively straightforward words, I didn't go into them here. Only the stranger ones. Apologies if you disagree with me on what makes up a "stranger" word, but now you get to go look up what it is! We're all self-starting here.)
What's up, Swype
What I wanted: "A while"
What I got: Well, I got "awhile," but let's just take a look at the other suggestions here:
• Aedile: Noun, Roman History. One of a board of magistrates in charge of public buildings, streets, markets, games, etc. (Well, okay then. Gonna win some trivia next time around. History lesson!)
• Seville: A city in Spain. (Fine.)
• Aawhile: ... why is this even an option? Have I somehow added this atrocity to my dictionary and it thinks it's a real thing?
What I wanted: "Forward"
What I got:
• Firewater's/firewater: Noun, alcoholic drink; liquor. Probably a translation of an expression in an Algonquian language. (You probably know this better as the overly stereotyped American Indian name for alcohol. Or the indie rock band. Either way. It's not a terrible suggestion, but it's weird.)
• Fire-eaters: Noun. 1. An entertainer who pretends to eat fire. 2. An easily provoked, belligerent person. 3. U.S. History. An early and extreme Southern advocate of secession before the Civil War. (Oooh, bet that last one came back to you from sixth-grade civics, didn't it? Again, not a bad suggestion, just super weird.)
What I wanted: "Desperately"
What I got: Uhh...
• Deuterated: Adjective, chemistry. Of a compound, in which the ordinary isotope of hydrogen has been replaced with deuterium. (Welp, now I know some chemistry terms.)
• Desiderata: Plural noun, singular desideratum. Things wanted or needed. (New vocabulary word for me! Synonyms, in case it helps: Essentials, necessities, requisites.)
• Desiderative: In Latin and other inflected language, denoting a verb formed from another and expressing a desire to do the act denoted by the root verb (such as Latin esurire ‘want to eat,’ from edere ‘eat’). (All I can say here is that unless you're, I don't know, a classical scholar, it's unlikely that this word is what you were going for.)
What I wanted: "Awhile"
What I got:
• Aedile: That Roman History noun again!
• Argyle: Noun, a diamond-shaped pattern in two or more colors.
• Argillite: Noun, any compact sedimentary rock composed mainly of clay materials; clay stone. (Learning geology now, folks!)
What I wanted: "Birthday"
What I got:
• Buryat: Adjective, of or relating to the Buryat Mongol Republic, its people, or their language. (I am a poor geography scholar, and had to go look them up. You're welcome: "The Buryats, numbering approximately 500,000, are the largest indigenous group in Siberia, mainly concentrated in their homeland, the Buryat Republic, a federal subject of Russia. They are the major northern subgroup of the Mongols.")
• Bursary: Noun, plural bursaries. 1. Ecclesiastical. The treasury of a monastery. 2. British. A college scholarship. (I had seen this once or twice in some British novels, and I knew what a "bursar" was, but I didn't know it was related to monasteries. The more you know...)
What I wanted: "Tonight"
What I got:
• Rubbishy: (Not a weird word, just super funny to me in this context somehow.)
• Tubidy: (There's like five different versions of this from .io to .mobi, and I don't know which Swype meant, but most of them are related to music and video in some way.)
• Tinnitus: Noun, Pathology. 1. A ringing or similar sensation of sound in the ears. (I've actually heard of this, and it's a constant ringing, buzzing or whistling in your ear, 24 hours a day. Can you imagine how insanely annoying that would be?)
What I wanted: "Promises"
What I got:
• Lorikeets: A small to medium-sized species of parrot. (Also known as Lories. Those are not like lorries, which are British trucks. Yes, I was also confused. Also, zoology!)
• Lorises: A small, slender, tailless, large-eyed, nocturnal lemur. (A subspecies is also called a slow loris, and they are endangered because they are cute and there are some terrible people in this world. Seriously, people, go adopt from your local shelter.)
What I wanted: "Commitment"
What I got: Science fiction?
• Cybertronian/tron: Cybertron is a fictional planet, the homeworld of the Transformers in the various fictional incarnations of the metaseries and toyline by Hasbro. (They really wanted me to be into the Transformers with these suggestions, y'all.)
What I wanted: "Tomorrow"
What I got: However I try to spell "tomorrow," this is pretty much what always happens. I apparently Swype it incorrectly. I am not defining any of these, I just want to point out that I use "tomorrow" a lot, and "Tunisia" pretty much never, despite Swype's insistence on suggesting it.
What I wanted: "Christmas"
What I got: So. Many. Things. It was Dec. 22 when I was writing this message, but apparently my phone was unaware that I might be aiming for a holiday greeting. Let's just touch on a few of these, shall we?
• Vodka(s) & Codebase: (Oh, Swype. You get me.)
• Cornet: Noun. 1. Music. A valved wind instrument of the trumpet family. 2. A small cone of paper twisted at the end and used for holding candy, nuts, etc. 3. A pastry cone, usually filled with whipped cream. 4. British. A conical wafer, as for ice cream; cone. 5. A large, white, winged headdress formerly worn by the members of the Sisters of Charity. 6. A woman's headdress, often cone-shaped, usually of delicate fabrics and having lappets of lace or other material, worn by women from the 14th to the 18th century. 7. A pennant or flag used for signaling in a navy. (Holy hell, there are so many definitions for this one word that I've never actually used. I knew only one of them, so I'll count this as still being weird.)
• Curiae: Plural noun of Curia. One of the political subdivisions of each of the three tribes of ancient Rome. (There were actually multiple versions of this political definition but this sums most of them up. They were more or less the same thing, don't worry.)
• Charism: In Christian theology, denotes any good gift that flows from God's love to humans. (Theology!)
• Chaudhry: (Appears to be a proper name. Couldn't find anything else.)
• Chisinau: Noun, Romanian name of Kishinev. (Which is a city in Moldavia, Romania. Question: If it's the Romanian name, of a Romanian city, why don't we just call it Chisinau instead of Kishinev?)
• Christmas: (Hallelujah, we got here! It took me nine Swypes, which is abnormal and ridiculous and prompted me to write this blog.)
So what I learned is that Swype really really really wants to teach me science, history and geography. Also, now I know the phrase "lappets of lace," which, let's be honest, will totally improve my popularity rating. Winning!
Okay, let's hear it. What's the weirdest thing Swype (or your normal keyboard) has ever suggested for you?
If you're still with me after all that nerding out over weird words, then you are my people. You should probably hang out here some more! PS, bring vodka(s).