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with Sniffy the Hamster, resident wordsmith
Sniffy Says: Help!! Help!! I'm under siege. My cage is completely surrounded by a pack of cockroaches. Their leader, the ruthless Wilbur Roach, says he won't let me out or any food in until I surrender. If I don't surrender they'll kick me out when I'm too weak to defend myself. I hate cockroaches. They've tried these siege operations in the past and it hasn't worked. They forget—I have a secret weapon—you want to hear it? Alllllright, here we go. "Uncle Sniffy pancakes without his syrup is like the spring without the fall there's only one thing worse in this whole universe and that's no Uncle Sniffy pancakes at allllllllll." Hee, hee, hee. Look at 'em go. The siege is over! They didn't even have a chance to throw beans at me. Hee, hee, hee, hee, hee.
Sniffy Says: Hello!! I'm not in my cage right now I'm on the high seas in a hamster ship. The tempest is terrible. There's rain and hail; lightening and thunder. You just wouldn't believe it. It's the worst storm I've ever been in. The ship is rocking up and down and up and down and up and down and—uh oh—I think— I'mmmm feeeeeling woooooooooooooozy. If this tempest doesn't stop soon—wait—wait—I see something. It's—it's—it's— Poseidon! God of the sea. He's huge! Hey, Mr. Poseidon would you please stop this tempest? If this ship keeps tossing I'm going to toss my breakfast—and my lunch—and my dinner—and the twenty-three bedtime snacks I had—please help me!!!!!!!!!
Sniffy Says: Well, I just dropped a big bowl of sunflower seeds all over the cage while I was eating them. Instead of picking them up I think I'm going try something new. I'll be the first hamster to snuffle sunflower seeds. I hope my nostrils are big enough to suck those little babies up my nose and down my throat. The great thing about snuffing is that you don't have to chew your food. You know, I've never tried this before, but here goes. [Sniffy puts his nose to the ground and starts noisily taking in huge amounts of air through his nose to suck up the sunflower seeds. Almost immediately he starts gagging and coughing then finally stops. He's breathing heavily.] Well, that went about as well as could be expected. No more snuffling for me. Good-night!
Sniffy Says: A shroud is like a big sheet. People usually use a shroud to wrap a body for burial. When my Uncle Gimbletree died he wanted to be wrapped in a green shroud with pictures of his favorite food on the outside. Here, I'll show you how to wrap someone in a shroud by wrapping myself in it. First, you take it like this—then you pull it over like this—then you try to wrap it around your tush—then once you get around your legs it's hard to keep your balance and if, somehow, you can wrap it around your head—well— you can't see anything—and the next thing you know—whoooooaaaaaaaah!—and once you wrap it around your mouth—iefkei eiekfie kdflsli dkkd eke kekwapeak eojieoldk kekoeao—wait— there. Okay, I can talk again. I'm gettin' rid of this shroud before it kills me.
avert (p. 35)
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Sniffy Says: If you want to avert something it means you want to avoid it, you want to prevent it. In short, and I am short, it means you don't want it to happen. For example, it is my intention to avert all forms of exercise. I don't like exercise. I like my plump, round little belly and I'd prefer to keep my plump, round little belly. Yes, yes, I have a hamster wheel but I avert using it at every turn—ha, ha, get it? Every—ha, ha, ha, turn. You're not going to laugh? Should I have said, "At every rotation"? Are you averting laughter? That's it! I'm outta here!
tunic (p. 44)
Sniffy Says: Tuna? What? These kids don't know what tuna is? This is too easy. Tuna. It's a big fish. Ever had tuna salad? That's a bunch of leaves with a big fish in it. Or how about a tuna sandwich? My momma—
Mr. Draeger Says: Sniffy? It's not "tuna," it's "tunic."
Sniffy Says: Tunic? That's crazy! I've never seen a tuna wearing a tunic. I don't even think tuna wear clothes—pajamas maybe, but not clothes and certainly not a tunic. Anyway, a tunic is this thing you wear under your clothes—well, that is if you're an ancient Greek like Odysseus. They even wore it over their clothes. See the picture? The tunic is the white part, not the cape—boy, if that guy is trying to look like Superman, he's in trouuuuuuuble.
trident (p. 45)
Sniffy Says: First of all, let's make one thing perfectly clear. I don't like tridents. They're like a spear and they've got three prongs on them. Some people use them for fishing and some hamsters—like my Uncle Peter Poseidon— likes to use them—hey, Uncle Peter—what are you doing here? I see you've brought your trident—looks like you've sharpened those three tips—now don't be pointing that thing at meeeeee—Ouch! Hey! Ouch! Hey! Ouch! Give me that thing! Ah ha! Now look at me. I'm the great Poseidon with my trident. That's right Uncle Peter. You better run. I'll be right back. Ta, ta.
hubbub (p. 52)
Sniffy Says: Hey! I'm trying to sleep! What's all this hubbub? Is anyone listening to me? Oh, hey. I'm supposed to tell you what hubbub is—what was that? Is there a submarine in here? Anyway, I'm supposed to tell you what hubbub is, but I just don't know if I can— do you hear that? It sounds like a—a—a—yikes! It's a train! This is crazy. Anyway, I'm supposed to tell you what a hubbub is—boy, I like that word. Hubbub, hubbub, hubbub. That's just a cool word. Hey, what are you doing? Hey! That guy just took my motorcycle! Hey, he's not wearing a helmet! Listen I was going to tell you what hubbub was, but there's just too much hubbub! So forget it! Odysseus gave me some earplugs and I'm going to use them. Good night!
The Free Dictionary: This is now my favorite on-line dictionary (the box above links to this dictionary). Not only does it provide you with audios to pronounce the word, but it also gives you examples of the word used in context. They also have a "References in classic literature" section which provides entire sentences from classic literature in which the word is used. Also includes a thesaurus, encyclopedia and more.
Answers.com: This is not just a dictionary, but it has a dictionary and the reason I list it is because the dictionary has an audio pronunciation feature which is very helpful when one comes across words that are difficult to pronounce or have never been seen before. Access is free.
The Dictionary of Difficult Words: Good resource for those words that your dictionary doesn't have or that other on-line dictionaries do not have.
A Latin Dictionary: This is great resource for Latin. There is even a downloadable version for your computer that will do both Latin/English and English/Latin.
Dictionary.com Free Access. You can purchase additional features.
Merriam-Webster Free Access.
WordSmyth A children's dictionary is also available. This dictionary requires registration. Free Access.
Oxford English Dictionary The best English dictionary in the world! This dictionary requires paid subscription. $29.95 per month or $295.00 per year.