Monday, November 28, 2011

Big Words. Seriously?

Hello, my name is Jerralea, and I am a logophile. I am a lover of words.

Thankfully, I'm not a sesquepedalian (a lover of long words).  At least not yet ...

I have always loved words.  I think one reason I like them so well is because of my voracious reading appetite tendency to read a huge amount of books. Whatever is front of your eyes will eventually come out.

Whenever I use a big word, my daughters people look at me strangely. You can see them thinking, "Seriously? What does she mean? Why not say it simply?"

Ah, but you lose something in the translation.  Some words just lend the right nuance to the situation.

Case in point:  My middle daughter and I were cooking together this Thanksgiving. I was teaching her the intricacies of cornbread dressing. We had chopped onions and celery and softened them in the microwave with real butter.  We had crumbled all the cornbread into the pan.  We had even shredded up some crusts of bread to give the cornbread dressing a little texture.  Now, we were ready to add the spices when, horrors!  I realized we had no sage or poultry seasoning!   

Without thought, I opened my mouth and said, "Oh no! We're stymied!  We can't go on until we send your dad out to get some spices."

Hilarious laughing occurred.  I was teased the rest of the day.  Everything was, "we can't do this or that because we're stymied."

Sheesh!  What is so funny about using the word stymied?  The dictionary says it means, " to present an obstacle to, stand in the way of." Right.  A lack of spices stood in the way of making delicious dressing. 

I will probably be on my deathbed some day and someone will have to bring up my using the word stymied. Luckily I am not emo.

This was not the first time the phrasing of my words cracked my family up.  One time we were eating out together.  My hubby was sporting some stubble on his face that day.  When he used his paper napkin, some of the paper remained on his chin. I said, "Jim, you've got napkin residue on your chin."

I've never heard the end of that one, either.

Really, I think that people need to use more words in their vocabularies.  There is a wealth of words out there - why not use them?

I would caution some to be sure they know what their word means.  It is embarrassing to use a word that is not appropriate for that sentence. Instead of getting respect as a wordsmith (skillful writer), you may be thought ridiculous.

I once worked with a pastor who loved words so much he subscribed to Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day and then encouraged himself to use the word in a sentence correctly five times that day. That, my friend, is a wordsmith!


Karen said...

I enjoyed this post...and learned a few new words, too! My family also makes fun of my choice of words on occasion...

Karyn said...

Great post! I don't think I've ever used the word 'stymied' in conversation - but if I did.... Hooo Boy! I'd the the recipient of unrelenting teasing, for sure!

Still, I can just see you working on the stuffing then "Horrors! We're stymied"

Sorry, my friend, I'd have laughed too - even while admiring your extensive vocabulary. :)