Most of you know that I am a word
But some words are just mean-spirited. I think they are just hanging out, waiting to beat me (and be “me” I mean “you’) into submission.
By bamboozling us (and by “us” I mean “you). Because they sound like one thing but mean something very different. And isn’t that just like a bully? They act like one thing, but they are really something very different.
These word are impostors! And what’s more, if you fall into their trap, you can get mighty embarrassed by the, oh, 5% of people who actually know what these words mean. So these wards can usually just go around being word bullies–confusing and embarrassing you. Well, lucky for you, I’m here to help you stand up to them. Knowledge is power People!
I’ve selected a few of the Word Bullies to call on the carpet. Maybe you know others. The more of them we can strip of their power over us, the safer we all will be (linguistically speaking, that is). And wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all felt safer taking in the streets without worrying about someone laughing at us for misusing one of these words? Okay, I can think of better ways to make the world a better place, but I’m a blogger, not a freaking politician or celebrity.
Crapulous. Now there’s a word for you. I bet you think it’s a new word meaning the opposite of fabulous. Nope! It’s an old word (adjective) originating from the Latin crapula (not to be confused with the Transylvania Dracula) meaning given to or characterized by gross excess in drinking or eating. “The crapulous girls took the horse for a ride on the beach.” Just doesn’t sound right, does it?
Formication. Hey, wait just a minute! I run a G-rated operation here. And that’s the problem with this word. It sounds as dirty as, well, dirt. But it means but it means “an abnormal sensation as of ants creeping over the skin.” Well, if ants are involved, I suppose there is dirt somewhere…
Fungible. Getting the image of a mushroom? Cancel that. It’s a term lawyers use when referring to anything valuable that can replace or be replaced by something else. “The fungible assets were found mainly in the basement.” But were they edible, that’s what I want to know?
Noisome. You’d think this refers to something noisy, right? Aw, come on. That would be too easy. Anything noisome is that which is stinky, disagreeable, or otherwise offensive. I suppose a fart could be both noisy and noisome.
Pulchritude. I’m not sure what this world sounds like, but it doesn’t sound pleasant to me. It sounds like a combo platter of bacterial infection and a bad attitude, which wouldn’t make me happy. What does this word really mean? It’s a noun meaning beauty. Yup. That’s just wrong. “Her pulchritude left me speechless.” Well, was she deformed, gorgeous, or a snappy dresser?