I may be displaying my ignorance to my readers, but once you read my
explanations I think that you will agree why the words shouldn't be
First and foremost, I will not use words that are
science-related or in Latin. If you merely thought I might be
ignorant or uncultured, my incorrect use of Latin or scientific
words would confirm it.
I once found that another word for twilight -- that beautiful,
peaceful time of day about which many poems are written -- is
"crepuscule." Since the accent here is on "pus," simply by using
that word, I would totally obliterate the beautiful, peaceful scene
I was attempting to portray.
Some time ago, I was looking for another word for idiot, because
it is rude to call your husband names. Under "idiot" in my thesaurus
is "flibbertigibbet." I would never use that word in a column ...
maybe. OK, I would never call my husband a flibbertigibbet. It does
not carry the desired emotion.
There are a few words that I wouldn't use simply because they
sound like they could be obscene.
Erubescence sounds like a teenager is erupting in erotic
pubescence. Actually it is a blush, which is what one might do if
the meaning was misconstrued.
If your college student calls and announces that he is switching
majors, again -- to horology -- do not be concerned. Horology is the
science of measuring time. It has nothing to do with street walkers.
This word ends with "-ology," though, so I won't be using it
I won't be using "hornswoggle" either, due to the suggestive
nature of the word, however harmless its meaning. It means to
bamboozle, which is a word I might use ... many times.
[to top of second column]
Last, but not least, of the obscene-sounding words is
"billabong." I don't know what this is. It's probably something
scientific or Latin. I apologize if I have offended anyone.
There are other words I won't use just on principle. For example:
"Nootka." A Nootka is a British Columbian Indian. Its definition
covers three continents ... and they don't inhabit any of them.
That's just wrong.
I won't use "larnix" ... um, "lairnyx"? ... well, I won't use it
because I can't spell it. I'm simply being practical.
"Patulous" means spreading or expanding ... like my derriere. Why
would you use patulous when you can use spreading or expanding? By
the way, "derriere" means bottom, seat, posterior, rump or rear end,
according to my thesaurus when I looked up "butt." You can
understand why I used "derriere." It sounds classier.
Well, it looks as though I have paltered. It seems I have indeed
used my collection of words that should not be used in a column. I'm
sorry. I did not mean to bamboozle you.
Perhaps the context is wrong, but I just love that word!
Bamboozle! Bamboozle! Bamboozle!
[By LAURA SNYDER]
Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated
columnist, author and speaker. You can reach her at
or visit www.lauraonlife.com
for more info.