Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Way Cool Words


I just love learning new words. Like many of you I’m subscribed to the Word a Day e-mail. I can’t pay attention to these every day, but some days the word and its meaning is just so cool it catches my attention, and I have to write it down. I’ve got these sticky notes floating around my computer full of these words. At some point I’m going to have to enter them in by three-by-five card file of cool words. But as long as they’re in front of me and I glance at them every now and then—it’ll help me remember them.

Here’s a list of some I’ve run across recently:

Oniomania: overwhelming urge to shop. From the Greek onios, meaning for sale. I taught this one to my teenager daughter, who scooped it right up. If the shoe fits . . .

Aphatic: dark, without sunlight. Great word to use metaphorically.

Procellous: stormy, as in sea. Another great metaphoric one.

Garbology: study of a culture through what it throws away. I mean really—such a form of study really exists? My spell checker tells me this isn’t even a word. Shows what it knows.

Miscible: capable of being mixed together. Compounds, sure. But think in terms of people...

Tarantism: overwhelming urge to dance. Like me with rock music. And listen, BGs, I get this one first. It shows up in somebody’s chick lit, I’m comin’ after you.

Senectitude: old age. What a cool word. Senectitude. Just trips off the tongue. Another one my spell checker doesn’t know. Come to think of it—so far miscible is the only word it does know. Somebody in Microsoft needs to subscribe to Word a Day.

Prevenient: coming before, anticipatory. Not really a new word to me, but a reminder of a great concept. As in prevenient grace. (Spell checker doesn’t even know this one. Sheesh.)

Phatic: relating to words meant to generate social relationship rather than convey information. Example—“How are you?” Way cool—there’s a word for this nonsense?

Clinquant: glittering (adjective) or tinsel, glitter (noun). Secondary meaning: the glitz BC wears on her jeans. And shirts. And sunglasses. And purse . . .

Bromide: a tired or meaningless remark, as in “Everything will be OK.” Or a tiresome or boring person. I love the first meaning. "She writhed in the floor in anguish, and all he could do was offer bromides..."

Acidulous: somewhat sour in taste or manner. I know some people like this.

Exiguous: scanty, small, slender. In other words, what all we women would like to be.

So—how ’bout writing a sentence with as many of these as you can use? Most creative (or awful, depending on how you look at it) wins a dog biscuit. Here’s mine:

On that procellous and aphatic night with clinquant stars shining in a prevenient dawn, a shocking and unusually miscible oniomania and tarantism descended upon the exiguous form of the bromide Mabel Struggs, who in her senectitude had heretofore spent her energy in the mere spouting of phatics and the nosey garbology of her acidulous next-door neighbors.


5 comments:

andy said...

R. C. McGuffin might let loose an occasional bromide or prevenient phatic, but no one dares mention his senectitude (even though he's pushing 90) since every word he says is aphotic and procellous, assiduously aimed straight at the heart of what he sees as a clinquant flaw in those he supposedly loves--whether it be oniomania or tarantism, no matter how exiguous; so I decided to do a little garbology (not a very popular technique here at the Bureau--quite acidulous, I know) and see what kind of miscible clues I could discover along the way, see if McGuffin's vitriolic words might have eventually led...to murder.

Kristy Dykes said...

Vidalia lived in Vidalia, Georgia, and had a bad case of oniomania. She put Vidalia onions in every recipe. She loved them, just couldn't get enough of those sweet thangs. One day, when the season was over, she was in her aphatic cellar and noticed her onions looked a little spotted, but she decided to use them anyway. They were Vidalias and luscious, not those cheap imitations, like what some people grew after buying cuttings at the Vidalia Onion Festival and taking them home and planting them. The joke was on them: it takes Vidalia, Georgia, soil to grow real Vidalia onions. So Vidalia added the spotted onions to her stew, but alas, she grew sick and her stomach was as procellous as the Atlantic that time she went deep sea fishing. She wished she'd thrown those things in her garbology. Vidalia had been sure her spotted Vidalias were miscible with her stew, without harm. Suddenly, even with her stomach procellous, a fit of tarantism overcame her, and she couldn't resist. Her feet flew over the floorboards. But a feeling of senectitude was the result. She was a 90-year-old with prevenient thoughts of the Pearly Gates. Her girlfriend called at that moment, and when asked how she was, phatically, she said, "Oh, I'm just fine." She put on her clinquant shirt with a Vidalia onion outlined in sequins and took a bromide which tasted acidulous. The next morning, her devotional said, "Be thankful in all things," so she thanked the Lord for her procellous stomach all night long, because now, her midsection was exiguous.

Oh, did I misuse some of those words? GRIN.

Now, back to my manuscript, thank you very much!

eileen said...

Groan. Eileen's senectitude kept her from participating in this exercise.

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Andy, you'd win hands-down even if everyone else stepped up to the plate. I think you scared 'em off with your creative wit.

Here's your dog biscuit!

andy said...

Gosh. *blush*

Though in truth, I really want the dog biscuit. I have two dogs. They love biscuits. And don't think I'll forget. You owe me a biscuit...

Andy