I don’t have much of a vocabulary, as you’ve long ascertained from reading this dribble. Hence why I routinely get my ass kicked at Scrabble and its more popular iPhone equivalent Words With Friends. I don’t know many “$10 words”, and I really don’t have any use for many of them, out of the mindset of, “what’s the point in using some big fancy polysyllabic or seldom-used word when there is almost always a much smaller, simpler word that is just as effective?” (And yes, I see the irony of my using the word “polysyllabic” in that context. On a related note, the word “monosyllabic” seems to be an oxymoron of itself, but I digress.) For example, why use “verdant” in everyday conversation when “green” works just as well? Who says “verdant”, I mean, REALLY? I just think that many writers and speakers (and some people in general) just like to make themselves sound smart by using big words for no reason. I’m guessing I dislike that so much simply because I don’t know what most of their hoidy-toidy words mean, but that’s my point- the average person shouldn’t have to carry a thesaurus with them when reading the newspaper or whatever. Poetry and descriptive literary works are one thing, but many people that use the big fancy words at will like that come across as very condescending to us simple folk. Just sayin’.
However, there are some words I just simply like hearing, even if I don’t know what they mean, and there are some words I flat out despise hearing. This is not taking into account any sort of flavor-of-the-month buzzwords or other [pop-]cultural terms for things- most of which drive me crazy to begin with- nor have I included words simply because they are often used incorrectly, spelled incorrectly, or otherwise butchered. That I save for posts about people that don’t know the language.
(Hey, give me a break- I’m trying to find excuses to post something here.)
WORDS I LIKE
- “vernacular”. I know- weird how I like a word like “vernacular” in a post about using big words for no reason. I just like the sound of it.
- “tits”. Sorry for the shock value, but at least from a male viewpoint, this word just tends to conjure up happiness upon hearing. And no, I’m not going to list all the dirty words and curses I like. Suffice it to say that “tits” is probably my favorite, besides the F-bomb. (Note: “tits” must be used as a plural. To refer to one breast as a “tit” is just wrong. “Titty” is acceptable, but not “tit”.) Um, sorry. Moving on…
- “titillate”. No big surprise, I can’t hear this word without giggling. Yes, I’m an 8-year-old.
- “inconceivable”. It just makes me think instantly of the movie “The Princess Bride”, one of my favorite cheesy 80s movies.
WORDS I DISLIKE
- “moist”. ‘Nuff said.
- ANY word for underwear other than “underwear”. This includes but is not limited to “panties”, “underpants”, “undershorts”, “shorts” (“shorts” are what you wear OVER your underwear, damnit!), and “unmentionables”. Basically I hate anything and everything about talking about underwear.
- Medical terms like “bile”, “mucus”, “pus”, and the like that, upon hearing, instantly contorts one’s face into looking like… well… like they’ve tasted bile, mucus, pus, and the like.
- “seepage”. Nothing good ever results when the word “seepage” is involved, in ANY connotation. Ever. Think about it- when was the last time you had a GOOD experience when seepage occurred? The prosecution rests.
- “stain”. As with “seepage”, is there such thing as a good stain?
- “gesticulate”, “masticate”, “genuflect”. Even though they’re not gross in meaning, they just sound gross. Example: The zebra gesticulated wildly when the lion attacked. Well YEAH it did… I’d gesticulate all over myself if that happened to me!
- “penal”. If you’re talking about the prison system, then SAY “prison system”. “Penal system” sounds like some male-enhancement product sold on late-night infomercials on Spike TV, whereas “penal code” sounds like some set of hygiene and/or hiring requirements for Chippendales dancers.
- “flatus”. It’s called a fart, people. I don’t mind the word “flatulence”, when necessary in certain company, but saying “flatus” is just dumb. It’s a FART.
- “homage”, and certain other words we stole from other languages, that nobody seems to know they really should be pronounced. Is it “OMM-ij”? “oh-MAHJ”? “HOMM-ij” Somebody, somewhere, pick a pronunciation already!
What are some words you like? Why? What are some words you dislike and why? Again, try not to list words that are frequently used incorrectly or are otherwise simple victims of poor grammar, spelling, and/or vocabulary. I’m talking about words you simply like- or don’t like- hearing.