Sunday, March 2, 2008

Vocabulary Builder I -- Words Are Mean Things


*Note: I ran a series of tongue-in-cheek vocabulary "builders" while writing for a newspaper back in '96-'00. I am condensing them, in my subjective opinion, to a 'best of the worst' from that series, with some updating included. You decide how my subjective opinionater thingee was workin' hyar...*
Early in my writing career, or so I dare fancy it, I found it timely to help many of you with what I'm sure was achieving one of your high-priorities in the New Year: tax evasion.
Just kidding, depending on who gets the White House.
Time marches on. Just as 2007 gave way to 2008, so too must we all further and refresh our education. Top on that list is the maintenance and expansion of our lexicological repertoire. With over 300,000 words in the current English language, and more being added yearly, this becomes more encumbent.
As with other lesser comparable excursions into the abyss of our linguistic heritage -- such as that practically unknowd publication, Reader's Digest and their substandard Word Power segment -- each of the following words is accompanied by several definitional choices. One is probably correct. More than one may be correct. Theoretically, all three may be correct. Or not. Depending on your level of educational and/or imaginative development, perhaps none of the three will be correct. You may have a sense of humor comparable to that of sheet rock or a door knob, and wonder why anyone would waste precious space and print on this silly exercise. You may wish to form a coalition of like-minded citizens to campaign against the outrageous behavior of this blogger, who seems to have the temerity to think that he can present something irreverent as educational, in a faux-funny format. You may even go so far as to petition for a constitutional amendment on your state's next election ballot, to prohibit such material from ever appearing in a publicly accessible format, ever again.
For the rest of you, enjoy the following exercise. For the few of you remotely akin to the above, piss up a rope:
Tolerant:
- directions on how to get to Lerant
- forbearing
- an ant capable of playing in the NBA
Illiterate:
- "sick" literature
- incapable of reading this (which may not be all that bad..)
- study of litter rates in Illinois
Puerile:
- broth made with limburger cheese
- teasing a skunk
- acting childish
Composure:
- brand name deodorant made from compost
- something difficult to maintain during election cycles
- person that creates music for operas, symphonies, beer commercials, etc.
Graphics:
- redneck giraffes
- anomalies in a graph
- two-dimensional drawing of an object according to mathematical rules of projection
Tai Kwan Do:
- Eastern self-defense and spiritual philosophy that's hard on bricks and boards
- used to make tai kwan bread
- comdominium complex in Taiwan
Wage:
- Ancient Carthaginian unit of measure accounting for age and weight
- what Elmer Fudd goes into evwy time he's outsmarted by that waskily wabbit
- salary or pay
Dominion:
- one of Homer Simpson's friends
- used to make minion rolls
- a governed country or territory
Rarify:
- to make less dense by dying her blonde hair brunette
- lightly cooked meat
- a hard-to-find stereo system
Seamstress:
- a woman who sues after choice three
- a woman that sews
- a size 6 on a size 14 body
Peccadillo:
- exotic cigar made from cucumbers
- a slight offense
- how a chicken eats a pickle
Prohibit:
- a trained, professional hibit
- not allow to do something, go somewhere, etc
- professional frog caller
Exhibit:
- a former hibit
- a display
- an unknown hibit
Inhibit:
- warning of an incoming hibit
- a trendy hibit
- self-conscious self-restraint
Baguette:
- French for "a narrow loaf"
- French for "call it le day"
- French for "wave ze white flag"
Barysphere:
- what one does with a time capsule
- the dense interior of the Earth
- Dave Barry phobia
Barroom:
- a flying broom with cocktail service
- an elephant passing gas
- a saloon
Blowfish:
- Hootie and the
- I know what you're thinking, you sick puppy
- a fish that inflates when it senses a threat...like the previous
Buggery:
- being a real pest
- a carriage emporium
- slang for sexual backdooring
Catachresis:
- a process of distilling spirits
- a misuse of words
- aka, this whole entry
Dilettante:
- a 900 number dedicated to taunting the caller
- a substandard pickle
- amateurish, not thorough
Extramundane:
- really bland
- supernatural
- Scooby Do on Prozac
Flotilla:
- a seaworthy Dorito
- small fleet of ships
- a runny tortilla
Groin:
- groin..groin..gone...*rimshot or ducking throwd items*
- getting bigger
- physical depression between the belly and the thigh
Ignis Fatuus:
- Latin for "foolish fire"
- Latin for "lighting flatulence"
- Latin for "make mine well done"
Meander:
- Redneck for "me an' th' missus"
- wander at random
- random wondering
Node:
- a point of zero current or voltage
- something he or she orta
- when both parents turn you down, you know you been
Predict:
- first draft of an edict
- foretell
- screwed before you get started
Noel:
- Coward
- the Christmas season
- a word with a politician in it: it has an "L", while saying it doesn't...
If you thought that was bad, wait'll you see Part II...

10 Comments:

Blogger Little Lamb said...

Puerile: You mean this is actually a word? I know someone in the blogger world who's screen name starts this way.

At first I saw this word and did a double take. I then went to look at this blogger's screen name to check to see if its spelled the same way.

You actually learn things from your fellow bloggers. I never knew that.

02 March, 2008 06:08  
Blogger Jack K. said...

Since you like words, you will be overjoyed with twisted linguistics at Serena Joy's site.

02 March, 2008 10:59  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Jack: nawp, I wasn't overjoyed with one visit. I'll be back there for more ;)

02 March, 2008 13:23  
Anonymous Phoenix said...

Heh, my hubby pronounces groin like "grow in"... and it, of course, drives me batty... :)

02 March, 2008 16:39  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Webster is rolling in his grave.

02 March, 2008 18:05  
Blogger Herb said...

So far so good. What paper was it that you worked on? Judging by their low standards they might even give me a job. Joke. Joke. Don't spray anything on my blog...

03 March, 2008 06:21  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Hoib: LOL...y'dunno da half of it.
When I first began writing for this paper -- the then Mountain Messenger, out of Idaho Springs --
the editor/publisher and I had one meeting. One. Therein, he told me something that I kept waiting for the punchline from: "remember, the average educational level of our readers is a 5th grade level".

I didn't believe that.

Two weeks later, I ran an April Fools' column that included tales of the Colorado Front Range Snow Snake, and how they -- and not below zero temperatures -- were responsible for frozen pipes in homes.

The publisher called me three weeks after that column to tell me of the dozen angry calls he got about it: why didn't I tell them HOW TO PROTECT THEIR PIPES FROM SNOWSNAKES??? He suggested I run something...ANYTHING...on how to snowsnake-proof a home.

I did, and I became convinced he was right about the average educational level there...

03 March, 2008 06:59  
Blogger Two Dogs said...

WELL, HOW DO YOU KEEP THE SNOWSNAKES OUT?

The ones that still keep tripping me up were the "hibit" ones. "Hibit" so much sounds like a word, that it should get an honorary place in the dictionary.

I have read this like fifty-two times and I still need a few more times.

03 March, 2008 12:40  
Blogger Debbie said...

Illiterate:
- "sick" literature

That's a good one.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

03 March, 2008 19:03  
Blogger Serena Joy said...

Bravo! Those are some darn fine words. I can't wait for Part II.:)

03 March, 2008 20:00  

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