My life-long interest in words and their meanings has given me a great appreciation for the near-miss words that children sometimes use, mistakes that often make as much sense as the correct words they replace. For example, one of my young daughters, upon hearing a new bit of information, responded by saying, "The clot thickens." The same daughter, who was undeniably hard on her toys, once opened a box containing a new toy or game and suggested that we begin by reading "the destructions." Both of those errors made their way into the vocabulary that our family still uses today.
Last week, in line at a grocery check-out counter, a small girl stood with her mother directly in front of me. At the child's eye level was an upright, plastic display of Bic lighters. I could tell that the girl had been warned about the lighters, because she was careful not to touch a single one of them. Instead, she poked one small finger into each space between the lighters--the empty spaces from which other lighters had been removed--and accompanied every tap of her finger with a single spoken word: "Fireable!"
"Fireable, fireable, fireable, fireable!"
Her word made me smile. It made perfect sense to at least two of us.