My topic for today is weird words. Like sesquicentennial. It's one of the words I acually remember learning. I was visiting my grandparents and everyone in town was going on and on about the sesquicentennial like everyone should know what that was. I eventually found out it meant the 150th anniversary celebration of either their town or the state of Illinois. People were in an absolute tizzy over this word and worked it into nearly every conversation from groceries to gas to god. But it struck me that probably only three people in the whole town had ever even heard that word by year 148, but when the advertising started it got picked up like a rally cry despite being a a little long winded and awkward. I suppose it's 10 syllables less awkward than saying "one hundred and fiftieth anniversary celebration".
Often times the use of awkward words annoys me. I find it awkward when people use what I would consider an incorrect words in a place where a perfectly good word already exists. For instance, I have one friend who might soon be driven mad by the over use of "up" as a verb. It now appears to be inescapeable. [Tangent: I still want a T-shirt that says "Make 7up Yours" but is split to say "Make 7" on the front with the rest on the back.] My blood pressure rises when people mistake effect for affect or adverse for averse.
But other words, made up, misused, or whatever entertain me to no end. I'm not sure where I draw the line between "this is fun" and "you're a dope" but I'm not too worried about it. Here are some words that make me happy.
- "Sesqui" means "one and a half" and is usually multiplied with the numerical root. Kvarko had a roommate for a while who was quite taken with it and tried to work it into daily conversation. He would say things like "when I crashed my bike, it hurt like a sesquibitch." Which even now makes me chuckle.
- "Strategery" I like for the irony and ability for subtle mockery. Although the original use was definitely in the "you're a dope" category.
- Then there are the combination words that just seem to work better than the orignials. Ginormous - gigantic and enormous - adds a little emphasis and fun to a a description. Prezactly - precisely and exactly - does much the same.
I have to run if I want fresh veggies this week, but let me feel free to comment with your favorite "made up" word or your least favorite word that is being used where a perfectly good word already exists. I love stuff like this.