Words. Our language is full of them. Some are short and ordinary, creating no certain visual, like sad, great, like, and nice. Some are larger than life whose meanings are known by few, thus creating no visual at all for those left in the dark. Quockerwodger, sphallolalia, and effutiation have recently shown up in my news feed on Facebook from the folks at Grandiloquent Word of the Day. (If you’re dying to know the meanings of these crazy words, see the key at the end of the post.) They are amusing to learn, but I don’t think I’d ever use them.
The ability to choose the right words can be a gift. For some, an obsession. And for others, sadly, not a concern at all. Some of us have vast, complicated vocabularies, which can either impress others, or leave them baffled. Some of us have a solid command of the language, all the standards with some fairly advanced vocabulary sprinkled in on a regular basis. And some of us stick to just the basics, saying only what needs to be said, in the simplest way possible.
We’ve all known folks who latch onto a few key words or phrases and then use them so often they lose all meaning. And if you are around them enough, you start to do the eye roll as soon as you hear those words. And you always associate those words with that person, no matter who else might use them. And you want to scream every time you hear those words, no matter WHO says them. And one day you realize that these folks who throw these words around ad infinitum aren’t even making sense any more. Do they think these words will make them seem more knowledgable or intelligent? Or do they just love these words so much that they can’t let them go?
Finding the right words is key and we are often judged by the words we use. We use words to express our feelings, or get what we want; to persuade, praise or hurt others. But finding just the right words can become challenging in certain situations: when expressing love, grief or anger, during a job interview, giving a presentation to the board, during a political debate, or explaining to your toddler where babies come from. I’ve written before about the people who use the wrong words, or make up entirely new words. Sometimes that makes me chuckle, but sometimes it’s just downright sad. All the sudden they become flustrated, and start aksing questions that are supposably correct. Right. And sometimes you just can’t think of the word you need. Fortunately, we have words like thingamajig, doohickey and whatchamacallit for those moments.
Just remember…words, no matter which you use, cannot be unheard or unsaid.
*Quockerwodger: a politician who is controlled or bought off by corporations
*Sphallolalia: flirtatious talk that leads nowhere
*Effutiation: spoken or written words that have no meaning or make no sense