Tag Archives: words

15 Words We Need To Use More Often

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Hello, dear reader.  I don’t know about you but I could really do with a coffee.  Do you want anything from the kettle?

After writing yesterday’s post about old fashioned things I think we ought to revive, I started thinking about words in the same way.  Every so often one of my friends will use a word like “balderdash” or “parenthetical” and everyone will go “ooh, that’s a great word!  Let’s bring that word back!”

Here are some brilliant and under-used words which I think we should all be attempting to bring back into everyday conversation:

  • Accubation – eating or drinking whilst lying down.  A fancy way of explaining that your hangover is preventing vertical movement.
  • Agerasia – the state of looking younger than you actually are.  Better than saying “I always get ID’d.”
  • Borborygmus – the sound of gas rumbling through your intestine.  Better than saying “I’ve got one brewing.”
  • Capernoited – slightly drunk/tipsy.  Trying to remember this word will be a good way to measure how capernoited/drunk you actually are.
  • Cruciverbalist – a person who loves doing crossword puzzles.  A better way of describing yourself than “word nerd”.
  • Farctate – being overly full of food. A marginally better way of saying “I’m stuffed”, but only marginally, because it sort-of sounds like “fart-ate”.  
  • Inaniloquent – being prone to say silly/inane things.  This one is going to come in very useful for all of us when we’re at parties with people we don’t like.
  • Jentacular – pertaining to breakfast.  I just love the idea of having a word that specifically means “breakfast stuff”.  I think that’s amazing.  Is there one for brunch as well?  
  • Lalochezia – the practise of using bad words to relieve stress/pain, e.g. swearing when you stub your toe.  I think this one is handy because if you get told off for swearing you can use a fancy word to justify your use of an obscenity.
  • Lethologica – the inability to remember the precise word for something.  Happens to lots of people all the time, although if you’ve forgotten a word like “jam” then I’d say your chances of remembering “lethologica” are pretty slim.
  • Prosopography – the description of a person’s appearance.  A good word to have on hand when trying to avoid looking shallow.
  • Qualtagh – the first person you see after leaving the house.  This is a bit silly of me, but I just love the idea of pointing at your unsuspecting postman/lollipop lady/bus driver and shouting “Hello, qualtagh!”
  • Sabrage – the act of opening a bottle with a sabre.  Not one I’ve ever tried myself, but now I sort-of have to, just so that I can use the word.
  • Sphallolalia – flirty talk that goes nowhere.  Write that one down, guys.  We’re definitely going to need it.
  • Tarantism – the urge to overcome sadness by dancing.  THIS IS A FANCY WORD FOR WANTING TO DANCE YOUR CARES AWAY.  The world is now a better place.

Have a truly outstanding Wednesday.  Extra cookies for anyone who manages to use all fifteen of those words in one day.

Talk Is From Poundland

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Hello, dear reader.  We’ve reached Thursday!  Hooray!  How are you doing?

We are all familiar with the phrase “actions speak louder than words”, but how much do we really believe the idea?  We get hung up on words all the time.  We re-read text messages and emails, we hold on to hurtful things that people say and let them get to us, and some of us even make a living out of using words (ahem).  Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone.  Some people are very good at letting words go.  But for a lot of people, even those who are good at ignoring the things that people say, we don’t really pay enough attention to actions.

The problem with words is that they’re so easy to use, and if you’ve been given them in a written format you can quite literally keep them with you forever.  Having said that, I got a bit upset a few months ago because I couldn’t find a load of emails that were exchanged between me and friend over ten years ago.  It was quite sweet, really: we used to email each other every day before school.  It was like having a pen pal, but with emoticons.

Now that I think about it, it really doesn’t matter about the emails.  I am still friends with the guy who I was sending them to, and I got to see him quite a lot while we were both in Edinburgh earlier this month.  It would be nice to see what we were writing to each other all those years ago, but the action of having kept in touch for a decade means so much more than knowing exactly what we’ve said to each other in the past.

Don’t get me wrong: I love words.  Obviously.  But I prefer phone calls to text messages and coffee dates to instant messaging, because in the months and years to come I will not remember anything that was said.  I will remember laughing and feeling connected to another person, but I won’t be able to tell you which words we used.

I couldn’t tell you what we talked about at my birthday party, but I remember my friends Katie and Mell making me an amazing Bag End birthday cake.  (That’s what’s in the photo at the top of this post.  Isn’t it amazing?)  I have no idea what our first words to each other were, but I know that my oldest friend and I had a fight when we were six when I threw my ballet shoes at her, and that we made up immediately afterwards.  My friend Jon and I have horrendous arguments sometimes (especially when Mr. Jack Daniels has been invited to the party), but we don’t care because we know that the other person will always drop everything if one of us has a crisis.

Words are good, but they’re cheap and easy.  Actions can be challenging, but they mean a lot and they have staying power.  If words are from Poundland, actions are from Argos.  (Seriously, have you tried shopping in Argos?  If that’s not a challenge then I don’t know what is.)

Have a gorgeous Thursday.

Weird Wisdom

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Good morning, dear reader!  How are you doing?

Our lives are filled with wise and wonderful (and slightly weird) people.  My favourite thing about my weird/wise friends is the bizarrely pithy stuff they come out with from time to time, and today I would like to share a few of those with you.

My friend Lauren and I are very similar, particularly in terms of how much we worry about things (i.e. way too much).  She and I both have an unfortunate tendency to over-think stuff, which is both bad and good: bad because it takes up quite a lot of our time, but good because we never have to explain ourselves to each other.  Recently we were having a long, involved and fairly over-thought conversation about stuff we’ve said that we wish we could take back, and the idea that you can ruin a lovely situation by saying something prattish.  Lauren came out with this nugget of wisdom: “You can’t say something irreparable to the right person.” It’s true that we all say things from time to time that we wish we hadn’t, but Lauren is absolutely right: if someone really loves you and understands you, you can always fix whatever silly thing you’ve said.  If they won’t let you fix it, they’re probably not a keeper.

Another friend of mine has an incredibly scary, fraught and high-pressure job, and it is still a wonder to me that she doesn’t spend all of her free time drinking wine, muttering and rocking back and forth in a corner.  She is actually a very upbeat and lovely human being who is always up for new experiences, which produces very mixed results.  (For example, she’s just gone camping for a week, and I’m not convinced that she will have packed anything except coffee and sandals.)  I love that my friend is so good at seizing life’s opportunities, but I love this statement of hers even more: “I should really Google things before I agree to them.”  Shouldn’t we all?  Life is for living, but with a due sense of caution and a clear understanding of what the plan is.

Last but by no means least, one of my favourite things about living with a close friend is that we have learned to appreciate (or at least tolerate) all sorts of weird behaviour from one another.  We reached a pinnacle of love and friendship fairly recently when Ash gave me this (sort-of) compliment: “I really enjoy how sometimes you sound like a Greek man.”  I wasn’t aware that I did, but if I do, I’m glad that my best friend enjoys it.  It’s very important to surround yourself with people who enjoy the weird things about you.

Speaking of which, two of my friends stayed over last night, so I should probably go and offer them beverages.  Have a miraculous Sunday.  Surprise someone with a romantic gesture or something.

Aaaaaaaay Macarena!

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Good morning, and a very merry Sunday to you!  I’ve just put the kettle on.  Do you take sugar?

Last night a friend and I went to a dance performance at Sadler’s Wells.  My friend is a ballerina and all-round dance expert, whereas my knowledge of dance extends as far as the Macarena, so the experience was a new one for me.

When we left the theatre after the show, I genuinely had no idea what I thought of the piece.  I have never, ever left a theatre without having formed a strong opinion on what I’ve just seen, so I was a bit discombobulated by this turn of events.  As far as I could see, the show was an extremely well-executed performance of the bleep test, combined with some energetic writhing.  That is not an insult to the show or the performers in any way; I’m sure that to a fan of dance the piece was extraordinary.  But I am not a dance fan.  I’m a words girl.  I can’t feel anything about a show that doesn’t have any words in it.

Bizarrely, the friend I saw the show with had the opposite view.  To quote her directly, “I don’t want to hear words.  Tell me the story with your bodies!”  This confuses me slightly because she did a Drama degree…the same one that I did, in fact, which is how we met.  And there were, as I recall, a fair few words involved in that.

I love going to the theatre with people whose views are so different to mine.  I have a friend whom I go to the theatre with quite regularly, and we nearly always agree on what we like and dislike about performances, which is great.  It’s always nice to have your opinions validated by someone you like and respect.  But it’s also a lot of fun to expose yourself to the weird and wonderful, and to try to see something you care about (i.e. performance) through someone else’ eyes.  I’m not saying that everyone should love every genre of performance, but it’s good to challenge ourselves a bit from time to time.  Go and see that show you’re not so sure about, or read that book that’s had mixed reviews.

But first, have a coffee and relax a bit.  It is Sunday, after all.

Richard Curtis Ruins Everything

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Good morning, you attractive and more intelligent than average person!  How’s the start of your weekend so far?

Today’s blog is about words and how we tend to misuse them.  As a writer and all-round pretty verbose gal, it feels a bit strange to be writing a blog post (using words, no less) about such a topic, but bear with me, because I think I can explain myself.  Having said that, I will be attempting to explain myself using, er…more words.  Flipping heck, this is going to be tricky…

We all have moments when we say something that we immediately wish we could take back.  You know the drill:

What your brain tells you: Hey, say this!  It’s witty, it’s apt and it’s actually pretty topical, too.  Saying this sentence will make you seem more attractive and intelligent to everyone in the room.

What actually comes out of your mouth: Something pretty obscure, mildly offensive and more than a bit weird.  People are now staring at you with slight fear and a lot of pity.  Back away slowly until you’re near enough to the door to make a run for it, and never see or speak to any of these people again.

When you’re tired, it gets worse.

Brain: Er…try saying this.  It might work. Who are we talking to, again?
What comes out of your mouth: Noises which are probably not even real words, and a bit of dribble.

And, of course, when you’re drunk:

Brain: Hey look, a random thought/complete overreaction/declaration of undying love!  Say that!!
What comes out of your mouth: a random thought/complete overreaction/declaration of undying love in glorious surround sound, probably a bit too loud and marred only by slurring.

Whether we’re sober, drunk or just too tired for proper sentences, we all say things from time to time that seem a bit silly in hindsight.  But when the conversation is truly important it feels so much worse to have messed it up.  Essentially, Richard Curtis films have ruined eloquence for all of us.   Even his most ridiculous characters manage to say the right words at the crucial moment (I’m looking at you, every Hugh Grant character ever), and that makes the rest of us feel bad when what we really need to do is just say “I’m sorry, I messed that up.  Can I start again?”

The other problem with this is that the person you’re talking to is the one who gets to decide whether or not you can have a second chance.  There are people in my life whom I love enormously, partly because they are kind, funny, interesting people, but mainly because they let me try again when the words I choose the first time around are not good enough.  I hope that you have people like that in your life, but more than that I hope that you are one of those people who give second chances.

Most of all, I hope that you have a glorious Saturday.