Thursday, July 26, 2007

words, whether cromulent or not

I relished reading the "100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know" (according to Houghton Mifflin Company, not blogger X). Some of the words on the list, like "nanotechnology" and "quasar" and "hemoglobin", seem to fall more into the jargon category, meaning that someone wouldn't encounter those words unless trying to. Some of the others fall into the supercilious category, like "supercilious" and "tempestuous" (I despise when people break out that word in everyday conversation!) and "loquacious", meaning that someone would most likely encounter those words as bywords intended to signal the speaker's educational level. My favorite words in the list are the words which are fun to speak and spell, like "lugubrious" and "bowdlerize" and "chicanery" and "wrought" and "incognito". The inclusion of "enfranchise" reminded me of what Krusty said on an episode of the Simpsons (a show which has bequeathed its own share of neologisms like "cromulent") after accomplishing something in Congress: "I have become enchanted and illusioned with Washington".

At the other end of the scale, while I was busy skipping ahead in thirty second bursts on MythTV, I caught the tail end of a commercial for the Big Brother show. Host what's-her-face said, "Can you say 'frenenemies'?"

Yes, I am physically capable of doing so. But why the flying freck would I?

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