Anatomy of a Wordnerd

When we began this site, we had only a vague notion of what a wordnerd was. A word lover, for sure, but more than that. Someone for whom learning facts and idiosyncrasies of words caused them to love them more and deeper. Someone who instantly felt a kinship with other linguaphiles.

And there was a time when we worried that we didn’t know you well enough. That we needed to find out more about you. And happily, you obliged. In the last two years, in over 6000 comments, you’ve given us flashes of insight into your lives. We’ve learned that you are teachers, librarians, students, doctors, chemists, retired construction workers, language students, professors, writers, musicians, scientists, parents, lovers – and I’m sure many other things besides. We’ve learned that you share your love of words with those around you, “I must print this for my class”, “I shall be putting this on the noticeboard”, “my wife and I had a race to see who could finish first”, “I emailed this to everyone” . And they passed that love of words onto you:

“Ah, my godfather inspired my love of crosswords. When he had cancer I’d go sit with him twice a week to do them. It was the closest I could come to expressing my emotions about the situation.” – Darryl H

“I too had a crossword inspirer – an eccentric English teacher who (I suspect intentionally) would leave the crossword with a few left undone on the edge of the desk…” – Mitch

You come from all over the world – Puerto Rico, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Cameroon, Vietnam, Pakistan, the Phillipines, Georgia, Angola, Cuba, Singapore, the Bahamas, Guam, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Azerbaijan and one hundred and thirty two other countries besides, making time to read our words in every time zone, on every day of the year.

wordnerd map2

A world of wordnerds: countries where people visit That Word Site are shown in blue

You’ve reminded us why we wanted to start this site in the first place. That words make you happy, make you laugh, make you sad, make you nostalgic, inspire you, excite you, touch you, speak to you. They allow you to communicate, to learn, to motivate, to share, to attempt to express feelings, to conjure up images, to be conspirators with those that speak the same language. To meet new words, encounter different languages, recognise the common thread of linguistic delight that brings us all together.

“I’ve been reading back over your work and you’ve made me laugh and cry!” – Daniella

“Lovely start to the year, always enjoy learning more about you and language and having a good laugh.” – Wanda P

“Your words inspire me always.” – Serena

“Wonderful stuff! Oh how I whooped with laughter!” – Tanya J

“I sympathy cringed! Thanks for the smiles.” – Angie

“Ah, the loneliness of the cryptic crossword enthusiast – and the sweetness of a likemind.” – Samuel Ashton

“At first I was dreading Monday, but after reading this I’m all smiles. Thank you!” – Nadya

“Dear Chris – and all of TWS – I thought I should write and say that thanks to your inspiration, I’m studying linguistics this year. I’d always loved language, but you truly inspired me to see how it flows into every aspect of life. Thank you!” – Ethan

“Mr Hancock sir, you do delight and inspire.” – Nancy

Looking at all of you, two things are absolutely clear. That we are going somewhere towards achieving our dream of being a home for wordnerds. And that we, like you, will never stop loving words.


81 Comments to “Anatomy of a Wordnerd”

  1. Thank you That Word Site for being so freaking awesome!

  2. Congratulations Chris, Karen et al on your lovely site. Amazing to see how widespread wordnerds are!

  3. Oh well done Chris, this so beautifully sums it up: united by a love of words.

  4. So thrilled to be part of such a community!

  5. Kinship! How perfectly put :-)

  6. Thanks for having us on the ride Chris!

  7. Amaaaazing to see the reach!

  8. Well done Chris! Keep growing, there’s some grey bits…

  9. I am so glad That Word Site exists. A true joy.

  10. Here’s to many more years, and more wordnerds!

  11. Incredible how fast you’ve grown…must be meeting a real wordnerd need :-)

  12. Of COURSE you have fans all over the world Chris! And well deserved!

  13. A world of words…wondrous!

  14. You’re a stunning lot, and you make all our lives happier!

  15. Yes: wordnerds are everyone, and everywhere!

  16. Your site strikes a chord, Chris! Thank you!

  17. And I’m one of the wordnerds! Thank you for having such a brilliant idea :-)

  18. Bravo Chris! You must be so proud!

  19. Hells yeah That Word Site! You go, wordfriends!

  20. Remarkable! All my thanks.

  21. Well done wordnerds! Let’s make ’em all blue!

  22. What can I say but hip hip hooray!

  23. All people love language, because it helps us express what’s inside. We need words for everything, how else can we ever know each other? You are all heroes.

  24. Chris Hancock

    You expressed it beautifully yourself, Fadielah. Thanks very much! :-)

  25. Oh well done Chris! World domination!

  26. Wow! That’s a looot of countries. In my ignorance I’d assumed your readers would be from England and US mostly. Lovely to see I was a misguided fool 😀

  27. Keep going, Chris and team! We loooooove you!

  28. A brilliant idea, and so superbly executed! More please :-)

  29. Words are everywhere, so wordnerds must be too!

  30. I’m certain you can cover the globe, with your talent Chris!

  31. A triumphant site, justly respected.

  32. Excellent work!

  33. Gooooo Chris!!!!!

  34. What a gift your site is to us all! I learn something new every day :-)

  35. Chris your inspiration and dedication has paid off!

  36. To infinity – and beyond!

  37. Love you Chris, love you Karen, love you TWS!

  38. So many beautiful words in this article! True reflection of your great site.

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