My son is famous (well, not famous famous, but famous in our household) for making up words. He’s not trying to make them up. He just comes up with words that sound like they should be words. And he’s right. They all make sense.
Like worser. He’ll say, “I feel worser today than yesterday,” and when you think about it, it’s perfectly logical. He’s following the typical grammar rules only in this case they don’t apply.
The same goes for “more downer.” If I’m scratching his back, but I haven’t hit the right spot, he’ll say, “Can you scratch more downer?” To which I say, “Why, yes, I can scratch more downer.” His meaning was clear.
My kids went for their annual check-ups yesterday, and I am happy to report they are both salubrious. Which means I’m a good motha. Whenever I leave the doctor’s office and especially the dentist’s office (because do you know how hard it is to get two kids with oppositional defiance disorder – i.e. ALL kids – to brush their teeth?) with a clean bill of salubriousness, I always feelI should get a gold star. Although a trophy would be better. I don’t know why they’re giving out trophies to kids all the time. Oh, they hit a home run. Big deal. Try getting your kids to brush their teeth twice a day. That merits a trophy.
Anyway, I had this word tucked away for a rainy day so last night when I was desperately trying to come up with something to write about, and I took to scrolling through my drafts praying I had a pre-written piece just waiting to be posted, I came across salubrious. I was saddened to find it wasn’t already written (damn it, why couldn’t the work be done already?). But at least I had something to work with. And, it was the perfect word for right after a doctor’s appointment and also for when you have nothing else.
Other helpful related words: salubriously, salubriousness. Not to be confused with salutation although you could give a salubrious salutation. In fact, I insist all salutations be salubrious.
The doctor was salubrious (as in the second meaning of the word), and my kids were salubrious, too, which is important because if you don’t have your salubriousness what do you have? Still something bothered me about the appointment.
I mean when can you not use this word? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a situation, say in a quarry, searching for just the right word. If I had known marmoreal then do you know how much time and energy it would’ve saved me? There’s always next time.
The thing about this word is I always read it as mamoreal, which it makes me think of mammary glands, which actually would be a good word for a parenting blog, which is probably why, when I spotted it in the dictionary, I said, “Oooh, mamoreal. What does that mean?” But, no, I didn’t go that route because for one the word doesn’t mean that and for two I’m more than just a parenting blog. I’m an educational blog. (Will that attract more readers?) I think I really ought to go with the kitty blog idea. In fact, Mr. Potato Head and I are now shooting videos of the kitties, and I’m gonna start posting them. The internet was made for cat videos. It’s the only thing that really interests people.
Does this look a little familiar? No, it doesn’t because I never posted this before in my life. Ok, I have, but there’s aren’t enough words in the English language for me to do another clever Valentine’s Day post so this is what you’ll be getting every Valentine’s Day from here on out. Deal with it.
I’m just trying to be realistic. This is the blogging equivalent of the actual holiday. Every Valentine’s Day, tell me you don’t get the same stinking box of mystery-filled Russell Stouffer chocolates (what is orange creme?) and boring red roses. You don’t complain then, do you? Didn’t think so, so stop giving me a hard time.
Plus, after a year I figure you forgot what the word means anyway. I forget the definitions of all words I post on Word to Your Motha, and I wrote them. Think of this as a refresher course.
Now I give you, last year’s Valentine’s Day word. Enjoy, again.
I searched high and low for a word to tie into this whole Valentine’s Day nonsense coming up in a few days. I’m not really fond of holiday posts because I feel like the market is already saturated with them, and I don’t play that. I can do better. I have to. I owe it to the people.
You might recognize this word from it’s cousin, vertigo, and you’d be right. The two are related, but when vertigo just isn’t the right word for your statement, the English language offers an array of vertigoish words to choose from. Select your word, and you’ll be on your way to sounding smart in no time.
Vertiginous – adj. 1. Whirling or spinning; rotary. The vertiginous action of a top. 2. Affected with vertigo, dizzy.
When vertiginous isn’t enough we also have the noun form, vertiginousness, and, perhaps a little superfluous but for the sake of variety, we have another adjective, vertiginously.
Can’t tell which one is my favorite. They’re all so much fun to say if you can get them out of your mouth. I’m not sure how much use there is for these words other than at Chanukah dinner, but then at least there would be 8 days of vertiginous fun. You can probably get in a lot of “vertiginous” sayings in 8 days.
“Mom, mom, mom! Watch my vertiginous dreidel spin.”
“Mom, look how vertiginous my dreidel is.”
“Mom, my dreidel spun more vertiginously than his dreidel, right?”
“No, mine is more vertiginous!”
“Boys, stop arguing. Both tops are very vertiginous.”
“But mine is more, right, Mom? Right?”
“I can’t verify the vertiginousness of the tops. They both looked the same to me.”
“NO!” the first boy screams, stomping his foot. “Mine was betterrrrrrrrrr!”
“That’s enough,” says the mom. “This conversation is giving me a headache. I’m beginning to feel the same way I did when I was in the doctor’s office and got the news I was pregnant with you boys. As soon as she said ‘twins’ the room seemed to tilt and spin and immediately I got a vertiginous feeling. I thought I might just drop straight onto the floor.”
Like how I fit all the forms into sentences? Not bad, right?
And, just recently, the new weather phenomenon, the Polar Vortex, has broken the opportunity to use these words wide open. The other day The Kid asked me what “vortex” meant, and like I’ve said before, I knew what it was but had trouble explaining it. If only I had known about vertiginousness then, I could have said, “It is a vertiginous cold air mass sweeping the country and making life miserable for everybody.” I mean has there ever been a better word to describe a Polar Vortex?
Now, your turn. Use vertiginous any way you want in a sentence below. You will be graded.
I know what your thinking. You’re thinking, “C’mon, Motha, you’re supposed to pick a good word, a funny word, an obscure word to teach us each week so we can learn from your vast knowledge. Or at least the page in the dictionary you chose. We already know this word. Don’t waste our time.” But hear me out. This is a good word. Sometimes, you only think you know a word. But words can be stealthy and devious and you find you really didn’t know them at all.
I came upon this lovely word when Crazy asked me a question. It went something like, “Mom, what does incontinent mean?” I was like, what do I say for this?
It could have (and has since) been worse, and I knew the word, of course, but haven’t you experienced those times when your kid asks you the definition of a simple, even a common word, and even though you know how to use it in a sentence, you’re not quite sure how to define it? Happens to me nearly daily. And I write a Word-To-Your-Motha column for Pete’s sake.
Take incontinent for example. When I was put on the spot to define it, I said, “It means you can’t hold your pee in.” But then I started thinking. Is that what it really means? Is that a factually correct definition? What about poop? Does it mean you can’t hold pee or poop in? It’s most commonly applied to pee situations, but I didn’t want to mislead my 10 year old son. He needs to know the truth! So I said to myself, “What does Webster’s have to say about this?”
Which brings me to today. I actually looked it up. And let me tell you, you’d be fascinated by the things you can learn by looking up words you thought you knew.
By now I’m sure your Halloween pumpkins look a lot like this, that is, if they are even still around. I know it’s getting late, and we are well into the madness known as the Christmas holiday season. But that’s the thing. How did that happen? Wasn’t it just Halloween last week?
And, then somehow somebody moved Thanksgiving up to the day after Halloween. And now tomorrow’s Christmas already. Give me a break people. Slow it down. Do we really need to have these holidays all jammed together?
How about we space them out a bit. There’s no need for three holidays right in a row plus my son’s birthday thrown into the mix. Are you trying to kill me or something? Let’s move Christmas back to February, ok? That’s a crappy month anyway, and it’ll give us something to look forward to. Plus, that’ll give everyone enough time to prepare and shop and cook and decorate all over again after just having done it for Thanksgiving.
Anyway all this holiday cheer has gotten me down, which is why you got jipped out of a post yesterday. I took a day off. I started to panic. I hadn’t bought a single present for my kids, and did you know as of today, Christmas is exactly three weeks away? Three weeks. That’s not a whole lot of time. Plus, last Friday I went to bed with visions of drumsticks still dancing in my head, and overnight the whole season switched to Christmas.
Ok, I might have over promised. But it’s still pretty good.
I know, I know. You’ve been thinking, Motha, how the hell are we supposed to communicate when you’re not providing us with our weekly word? But today all your troubles are over!
Alright, I know you don’t really care, but it makes me feel better when I think there are people (aside from my family members) out there who depend on me (my family just drains me. They suck). But fear not. If you have been depending on a weekly word, I have one for you. And it’s a good one.
You know how I try to pick my words thoughtfully and topically (well, I do)? Today I have one that lends itself easily to usage during the Halloween season (yes, I’m making it a season now. Try to stop me).
Pulchritudinous – (pul kri tood eh? nus) adj. Physically attractive.
I absolutely, positively love this word. Mostly because it sounds so awful, but also because what the hell? How can a word that sounds so awful possibly mean the exact opposite? It sounds like puke or putrid. And that’s exactly what people are going to think it is no matter what the actual definition is. This is sheer lunacy! Lunacy I tell you!
Maybe that’s why it fell out of fashion.
Anyway, here’s my suggested use in a sentence. In a Halloweeny context:
“Oh, my, Johnny, did you carve this pumpkin yourself?”
“Yes!” exclaims Johnny, beaming with pride.
“I must say it’s the most pulchritudinous pumpkin I have ever seen.”
Johnny bursts into tears, goes running from the room, and locks himself in his bedroom from, whence you hear occasional wailing, for the rest of the night. Which…may come in handy in certain situations. Hey, I’m just saying use your kids’ ignorance against them. It’s the only thing we got.
Or, alternately, again in a Halloweeny context – this time on Halloween when trick-or-treaters come to your door:
Opening the door, you say, “Oh, look at all of you! Such creative costumes. I see The Little Mermaid and Harry Potter and a fairy princess. Who else have we got?” Peering over the heads of the mini mob at your feet, straining to see the myriad clever ensembles, you gasp, “What pulchritudinous costumes you all have!” Then watch as the kids’ cheery faces drop, they glumly accept the candy offering and lumber slowly off your porch back to their exuberant waiting parents whom they then convince to take them straight home for the night.
Used in another context – because use of the word should never be limited to just Halloween – I suggest you use it in a romantic setting with a particularly beautiful woman. Men, listen up. I want you to try it out the next time you’re out on a date with a woman you’d like to impress.
Or when you’re out with your leading lady on a special occasion like, maybe, her birthday or your anniversary. I want you to wrap your arm around her waist, look her deep in the eyes and say, “You look absolutely pulchritudinous tonight.” And see what happens. Let me know how it works out.
Also, somewhat unrelated but somewhat related – if we’re talking about Halloween, and we are talking about Halloween (in fact, we will always be talking about Halloween because Halloween is the best season of all) – I wrote the definitive piece on corn mazes. That’s right all you corn maze scholars, you can stop right now. The final chapter has been written. I wrote about the amazing maize maze for Today’s Mama so check it out because you never know when you’re gonna be in the tri-state area and in need of a good corn maze. I’m looking out for you – and all your corn maze needs.
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I stumbled upon this word, as often happens, while I was looking for another word, and I was so captivated by it’s peculiarity that I had to investigate further. This is what I found.
Garniture – (sounds similar to furniture but with a hard “g”) n. Something that garnishes, decoration, adornment.
I’ve heard of garnish, but I’ve never heard of garniture. Perhaps it’s popular in the culinary industry, but I watch my “Top Chef” and “Chopped,” and I’ve never once heard anyone say, “Oh, damn, I forgot the garniture. Where the hell is the garniture?! Don’t you dare serve that plate without the garniture!” Or, “The garniture really balanced the plate. It added just the right note. It could have put me over the top, but I didn’t get it on all the plates. I can’t believe I could get sent home over garniture.”
But according to the definition, garnish isn’t only relegated to food. Come holiday time you could say, “Honey, could you get the Christmas garniture down from the attic? I want to arrange the our garniture before we have company next weekend.”
You probably won’t get any garniture because your husband won’t know you mean the animated lawn reindeer, but you could say it.
Personally, I feel like garniture should be the definition for diminutive doll house furniture. Because that’s what it sounds like, and I believe that should be the basis on which all words are defined – what I think they sound like. Do you have a better idea?
I love this word because the word actually means itself.
Sesquipedalian – (ses kwi pi dA lE en) adj.Also, sesquipedal. 1. Given to using long words. 2. (Of words or phrases) very long.
If ever there was a word to describe long words this is it.
Use in a sentence: The sesquipedalian sesquipedalian is perhaps the most aptly suited word for its definition.
Alternately: The sesquipedal professor at the dinner party thought he was impressing all the guests with his travels to Waigeo Island in the Molucca Sea for his research project on a previously undiscovered ancient civilization, but he failed to realize he was not speaking to students in his lecture hall at Yale. The guests at the table would have liked to partake in the conversation or at least had a turn to speak.
That’s all I got for you today because on Day 2 of Mommy Day Camp I already lost it on my children and by Day 3 (today) I am done with them. Still, they persist in annoying me so I am unable to think or write anything more clever.
If you are able to think, how would use sesquipedalian in a sentence? Give me your best one in comments.
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