Read “Lederer on Language” every Saturday in the San Diego Union Tribune and on this site.
Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

Next Saturday, from 9 am to 4 pm at the Town & Country Hotel in Mission Valley, the U-T will offer its 9th annual Successful Aging Expo. Please explore the special Expo section in tomorrow’s paper.

Free and worth every penny, the Expo will feature an aggregation of exhibitors, all-day entertainment and expert speakers on topics of importance to those of us who are full of years. I’ll be speaking about my new book, The Joy of Names, at 10 am in Salon 1.

The event inspires me to share my Dictionary for the Chronologically Endowed.

  • acid reflux. A condition that allows you to eat your cake and have it, too.
  • all-nighter. Not having to get up to use the bathroom.
  • birthday. The key to longevity. The more birthdays you have the longer you live.
  • birthday candles. A way of making light of age. You know you’re growing old when the lit candles on your birthday cake set off your smoke alarms
  • centenarian. Someone 100 years old or more who never smoked, or who smoked all her life. He drank whiskey for 80 years, or he never used the stuff. She was a dedicated vegetarian, or she was an committed carnivore. He exercised vigorously every day, or he was a total couch potato. Follow these rules carefully and you too can become a centenarian.
  • class reunion. A gathering where the people are so old they don’t recognize you.
  • crow’s feet. What other people have. On you they’re laugh lines.
  • dandruff. Chips off the old block.
  • elderhostel. The anger of seniors when they are stereotyped as helpless.
  • experience. 1. What you acquire just after you need it. 2. What enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
  • Florida. God’s waiting room.
  • getting a little action. You don’t need to take a laxative.
  • getting lucky. You find your car in the parking lot.
  • grandchildren. 1. The brightest human beings on earth, even if their father (your son in law) is an idiot 2. The only ones who can get more out of you than the IRS.
  • grandparents. 1. A grandchild’s press agents. 2. The most inexpensive, enduring and simplest toy of all one which even the youngest child can operate with ease.
  • hair. 1. A head covering that you either lose or that migrates to your ears and nose. 2. That’s not a receding hairline. It’s an advancing headline.
  • happy hour. A nap.
  • impotence. 1. Emission impossible. 2. Assault with a dead weapon.
  • laxative. What makes you a regular guy and keeps you on the go.
  • liquidity. When you look at the value of your retirement fund and wet your pants.
  • a night out. Sitting on the patio.
  • nudity. The most effective method of birth control for seniors, along with leaving the lights on.
  • old age. That time of life when actions creak louder than words, when your back goes out more than you do, when winking at a girl is closing one eye to reality, when you’re grounded for several days after flying high for one night, when you still have the old spark, but it takes more puffing, when you experience that morning-after feeling without the night before, when you receive nose-hair clippers as a birthday gift, when you will do anything to feel better except give up what’s been making you feel bad, when you are shedding your hair, your teeth and your illusions and when you’re sitting at home on a Saturday night when the telephone rings and you hope it’s not for you.
  • old person. 1. Anyone 15 years older than you are.
  • organ recital. Talking about your maladies.
  • time. A great healer but a lousy beautician.
  • tying one on. Fastening your Medic Alert bracelet.
  • wrinkle. The nick of time. 2. Yesterday’s dimple.