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But can you use it in a sentence?

By Amy Lohmann '14
February 8, 2012

What started out as a brainstorming session to come up with library gimmicks resulted in a Rolvaag Library tradition that is culminating in top hats and fanfare. Each week the library staff releases a "word of the week" button — complete with the lexeme's definition — designed to introduce library patrons to a world of obscure vernacular that can be conveniently pinned to personal belongings. This week marks the release of the 100th edition of the popular buttons that are available at the reference desk. 

Patty Cohn, library acquisitions and marketing associate, says she and her student workers landed on the idea in 2007 while trying to lighten the generally studious atmosphere for library patrons. Although people can submit ideas, "These days, I usually choose a few words from my word-of-the-day calendar, and the student workers team up to create the designs," says Cohn.

Word choices leading up to No. 100 include maunder, passel, skirl, titivate, frigorific, and specious. The team chose an appropriate word for the 100th button: centuplicate, which means — as stated on the button — "pertaining to 100." In holding with the celebration, the library also is displaying a collection of unusual dictionaries for perusal, and the first people to grab this week's button received a free top hat. 

The popularity of a button can be judged by how long it lasts in the library. Only 100 word-buttons are put out each week and, according to Cohn, a dud button is one that is still around on Thursday. "I'm still waiting for someone to use one of the words in a sentence while talking with me," she adds with a smile.

Contact David Gonnerman at 507-786-3315 or