Thursday, May 8, 2008

Jejune, and Other Cool Words

Grasp the subject, the words will follow.
Cato the Elder

Do you have words
that you like but never get to use? I do.

Jejune, for instance. That's a good word with a very nice roll to it. I have never used that word in a sentence or a conversation. I wish I could. But I'm not exactly sure what it means. I have looked it up and have kind of an idea of what it means, but it never seems to pop up at the right moment.

Notwithstanding is another one. It's one of those connecting words that makes you sound smart. I get to use it once in a while and am pleased as punch when I do. I can't tell you what it means exactly, because it is the opposite of withstanding and I have never heard anyone say that. How, you ask, can I use the word when I don't know what it means? I don't know, but I have.

I heard the word melancholic the other day. That's a good one that I could probably wriggle in somewhere partly because its meaning is close to its sound. You know, colic is some sickness babies get and it's not good. So I figure melancholic must be bad as well.

Gravitas was a word that I liked a few years ago, but it is way overused now, so even though I could use it, I don't.

Effete is a word I have never used but wish I could. It would be great to roll it out in a conversation, but I won't because, again, I'm not exactly sure of its contextual meaning. I am sometimes tempted to use it instead of elite because it rhymes and, also, sometimes elitists are effete. Oh well.

I mean the following quite literally, I have wanted to use the word egregious in conversation for 25 years. Never have. Ever. I always bow to the more general words like hard or difficult, instead of the subtle one I would prefer.

My desire to increase my useful vocabulary notwithstanding, I am happy to see them in print.

There, that feels better . . . I think.

2 comments:

Jake Good said...

During college I picked up the word ginormous... and what'dya know... it makes it into the official dictionary last year...

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ginormous

Rambler said...

One of the joys of the internet is that when a word seems to fit, I can google it and get the exact meaning(s). It's certainly helped my vocabulary.