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Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? On today’s Wacky Word Wednesday, a weekly celebration of the wackiest and most interesting words from around the world, we will learn about the importance of lifelong learning.

quo topOpsimath
[OP-si-math]

-noun

A late learner.

quo botOpsimath

Opsimath, a compound from the Greek opse, ‘late,’ and math, ‘learning,’ refers to someone who begins to study late in life. The word mathematics shares the same root, but it comes from the adjective mathema, ‘science or learning.’ The first written record for opsimath is in the 1880s, but the noun optimathy, ‘learning acquired late in life’ was first recorded in the 1650s. Another word ending with the suffix math is polymath, which refers to people who are educated in many subjects.

Opsimathy was once frowned upon and considered less effective than early learning. But due to diverse reasons, many people decide to discontinue their studies and resume them at a later stage; hence the number of opsimaths in today’s society is fast increasing. A recent example of an opsimath is Catherina Lancelotta, a 101-year-old woman who received a high school diploma from Woburn Memorial High School in December 2013, 85 years after she was forced to drop out to support her family through the Great Depression. Her story goes to show us that a little determination can take us far beyond our expectations.

Let’s look at some examples using today’s word:

  • Steve enrolled himself to college as an opsimath but dropped out again as he ended up marrying his physics teacher instead! (wordpandint.com)
  • John had to drop out of college to help his family financially but now that everything is hunky-dory he is planning to rejoin as an opsimath. (wordpandint.com)
  • The question, of course, is whether Paul underwent such a system in his youth or, like many before and after him, was either an opsimath or a natural-born rhetorician. (wordsmith.org)
Related:  CSOFTers Stay Green

You might think that you’re too old to learn an instrument or a new language, but we hope today’s wacky word will leave you inspired. And if you would like to become an opsimath of words, you can visit termwiki.com where you can find thousands of blossaries. See you next time for another fresh edition of Wacky Word Wednesday!

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