I find myself using way too many F-words these days.
I can’t help myself. They just explode out of my mouth with a force that knows not restraint.
People gasp and look away, obviously uncomfortable in my presence.
But you know what’s really twisted?
I like it.
Recently acquired Peter Bowler’s “The Superior Person’s Second Book of Words”, and I’ve been converted.
Call me verbose and lexically-pompous, but I love big, extravagant words.
Provided, of course, they’re relevant and used in context.
A guy I barely knew once called me an “Intellectual dilettante”. It was during a conversation he was having with a friend. I was idly sitting by, not really participating, but when he mentioned what a huge fan he used to be of ‘The Matrix’ trilogy, I just had to hijack some of the exchange. I made some arb naff comment, and that’s when he labelled me. Forget the fact that his remark was somewhat disparaging, I fell in love. Well, almost. But the fact that he carried the word ‘dilettante’ in his verbal repertoire was so impressive, and that he used it in its proper context, why, I was just about ready to have him father my children. (I’m given to dramatics.)
But superior words are no fun if they’re just thrown around all willy-nilly.
They should be treated like an expensive spice. To be used parsimoniously so as not to overpower your reader/listener and detract from the message you’re trying to send out.
For in the same vein that a man tries to make up for an inadequate sense of masculinity by buying a large, expensive car, someone with a stunted intellect may over-compensate by hiding behind superior language, that is largely vacuous in its essence.
But of course that’s no excuse to allow your vocabulary to stagnate. Apparently the average person stops learning new words in their mid-twenties. Don’t be a statistic.
-word for the day:
Excoriate (v): To abrade or strip skin from; to criticize severely. Excoriation (n)