In a previous post, I said how I’m a big fan of second and third definitions. Turns out, I’m a fan of first definitions and spellings, too! This is probably what prompted a friend to refer to me as a word nerd, a truth I readily admitted and took as a compliment.
With that being said, today’s The Weight of Words deals with poor, pour, and pore. I tripped up on this one myself when I typed the phrase “poured over a book.” My internal editor waved her red flag, and the word nerd in me saw an opportunity to share some knowledge.
Definitions and sample sentences for pour include:
(especially of a liquid) flow rapidly in a steady stream
“rain poured off the roof”
cause (a liquid) to flow from a container in a steady stream by holding the container at an angle
“she poured a little milk into a glass”
prepare and serve (a drink)
“he poured a cup of coffee”
Clearly, based on these definitions, one does not pour over a book.
Definitions and sample sentences for pore include:
a minute opening in a surface, especially the skin or integument of an organism, through which gases, liquids, or microscopic particles can pass
“wash your face to keep your pores clean”
be absorbed in the reading or study of
“Kathleen spent hours poring over cookbooks”
think intently; ponder
“when he has thought and pored on it”
And there is it, the second definition of pore is the one I wanted. As a sidebar, don’t you just love the archaic, third definition. What a great word to include in historical writing.
Even though I found the correct spelling for my sentence, the word nerd in me is including poor just to clear up any confusion. Consider this one a freebie.
Definitions and sample sentences for poor include:
lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society
“people who were too poor to afford a telephone”
worse than is usual, expected, or desirable; of a low or inferior standard or quality
“her work was poor”