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Monday, March 07, 2005

Vocabulary Irritation

Watch your mouth, you... Please don't take me amiss. I like words. Some would say I like them too much. I've been accused of obscurantism in my word choices, though not specifically in, umm, those words. Some have dubbed me "Mr. Dictionary"—less in approbation than in opprobrium, to be sure. But really, now: some words are used just in exhibitionistic ostentation. Take "quotidian"—please! What more pretentious or conspicuous flaunting of one's vocabuary can there be than to use the word "quotidian" in place of "everyday" or "ordinary"? A pox on the word, I say! Update: in response to some offline queries about this post, this: "Quotidian" is a curious, almost conspicuously bizarre word to use when referring to something as "commonplace"—especially since "commonplace" is an antonym of "curious," "conspicuous," and "bizarre." And, of course, nothing so bizarre as the word "quotidian" is at all commonplace. It's use to refer to commplace events or circumstances is hardly a usual, everyday or commplace event in and of itself. Queer ("anti-quotidian" indeed!) word, quotidian. And queerer still those who would use it to refer to the pedestrian events of everyday, commonplace life. To those who cry, "Ah! That I could escape my quotidian existance!" My answer: " Here's the rope, jerk. Have enough to hang yourself with?" *sheesh!*