Saturday, October 22, 2011

Word Fun!

Why are we doing word fun? Because we can!!! And because Charity said that we should write a post just for fun and I thought that was an excellent idea! She's a smart lady, that Charity. 

I have to admit that ever since I read the title of Charity's post "What's Fun Got to Do with It?", I have had Tina Turner in my head (how did she fit?!?!) singing, "What's love got to do, got to do with it...". That song came out when I was in high school and ended up being a running joke for several of us. I know it started with me and my boyfriend - though I can't remember exactly who said what. I think it was me that told him, "good luck" and he came back with, "what's luck go to do, go to do with it?". So every time we heard someone say, "good luck!"... you get the idea, right? Anyway, if that song is still stuck in my head in the morning, I will have to try my handy "Ice Ice, Baby" remedy. That song will knock just about any other repetitive song or thought right out of my mind. 


I used to love to use all kinds of words - just because I really do enjoy them and how there are so many ways to say basically the same thing. Sadly, I stopped using many of those words and they became lost to me. The reason I stopped is because my clients got angry at me when they could not understand what I was saying or if they thought I was being uppity. I think that is an occupational hazard in many areas of social work. My clients got mad when I dressed up my wardrobe, so dressing up my vocabulary was just a no-no. I don't resent that, but I do miss my words.

The memory of this was jogged not only by Charity's post but also by a comment I read today on another blog. A gentleman that I am not familiar with used the word "modicum". Yes! I adore that word and I have no idea why. I used to say it often. Mod-i-cum. Roll it off your tongue. Isn't it great?


a moderate or small amount: He hasn't even a modicum of com-mon sense.
Now think about "bode",  as in, "that does not bode well for him".


[bohd] verb, bod·ed, bod·ing.
verb (used with object)
to be an omen of; portend: The news bodes evil days for him.
I used to date a gentleman who worked for one of our State Senators. He and I were watching the news one evening when I commented on one of the news stories, "that does not bode well for him". The boyfriend said that I had made up the word "bode" - that it could not be a real word. This was back before we all had internet set up in our homes, so I could not just say, "oh yeah? Google it!", and I don't recall having a dictionary handy. I have to admit to shock that an aide to a state legislator did not know that word. I realize that those of you who are not from Texas have a very different view of our politicians and their intelligence levels, but I still had some expectations at that point. Of course, this was before we exported George W to Washington, D.C. and everyone in the world found out that he could not pronounce "nuclear". That did not bode well for the reputation of our state.


There are some words out there that really get to me because they imply an opposite must exist but we never use that opposite. Example: a few years ago, I was talking with a co-worker about a client who had a complaint. The word "disgruntled" came up. I knew I was in the presence of a man who would completely understand my curiosity, so I asked, "If you can be disgruntled, does that mean that you can be gruntled as well?" (Blogger does not seem to think so because its spell check is telling me that "gruntled" is misspelled.) My trusty co-worker turned to his computer and looked up "gruntled". Google told us that my suspicion was correct. A person can indeed be gruntled.

gruntled (ˈɡrʌntəld) 
informal happy or contented; satisfied
[C20: back formation from disgruntled]
There are now even websites using the word. Take, for instance, Gruntled Employees and Gruntle Me. I feel somehow vindicated without being sure or even caring if that is the correct feeling to have right now.


We should now move on to talking about a nice turn of phrase. "Nice turn of phrase" is its own nice turn of phrase, wouldn't you say? I enjoy it so. There are phrases/sentences that I enjoy because they are decidedly British. Then there are others I love for their Texan/Southern charm. My now-seven loyal readers know that sometimes I like to say/write, "let's not put lipstick on this pig before we shove it out in the spotlight". A few others that I like:
  • Your plans advance beyond reality!
  • From can't see to can't see [dawn til dusk]
  • I cannot abide mendacity.
  • All het up
I could probably sit here for hours just listing phrases that I like, but I have one last thing to cover before we say "happy trails" to each other.


I used to spend time with a dating couple at the gentleman's apartment (he was my best friend's guardian until she turned 18). He (G) taught at the local junior college and she (D) worked in retail, if I remember correctly. We usually just watched television, mostly educational shows. I can't remember if he had cable or if we were just watching PBS all of the time. An important point to make before I continue this story is that D not only had reading dyslexia, she also had speech dyslexia, so her words did not always come out right even though they were correct in her mind. 

One evening we were watching a show where a Baptist preacher and a professor of World Religions were debating theology. These two debaters did not stick to just basic monotheism vs polytheism controversies. They started picking apart specific practices of obscure (to me) religions. At one point they were discussing a ceremony from one of the religions in India that had a priestess/shaman kissing a live cobra on its nose while trying not to get bit. The level of theology being argued about was WAY above my head and I was getting a little frustrated. G decided to play devil's advocate and throw out some pointed questions at me. I ended up raising my voice to him, saying, "Quit antagonizing me!". G said that he was not antagonizing me. D decided that she needed to speak up for me, saying, "Yes, G, sometimes you agonize people." That statement will forever be proof to me that sometimes the wrong word can be the right word.


Do you have some word fun that you would like to share with us? We are all agog!


  1. I read and read, hoping to come across "madcap."

    Because I'm not sure one can discuss word fun without it.

  2. Two of my favorites:

    kerfuffle, which is a British word, meaning a big to-do or fuss,


    threnody, which means a "song of sorrow."

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE words.

  3. Well, Carolyn, now you have a perfect outlet to utilize your reconnection to lovely, underused words. I doubt anyone reading will think you're being all uppity with your vocabulary. I'm gruntled by the thought.


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