Words Don’t Die, They Just Go to Websites

11 02 2008

A heaping vocabulary carries with it a number of implications. First, it can provide, in a snap, the impression of a person as educated or not — even, I’d imagine, intelligent or not. (The latter judgement would be unfair) Second, it allows a speaker an impressive arsenal at his disposal, allowing for precision and power in language.

But take it further: Too many esoteric words, as perfectly suited as they may be for a situation, can be off-putting, more pompous than the whole of the Upper East Side. Language is communication, the blend of a transmitter and a receiver. Any rift in that can make things as awkward as encountering a brephophagist (see below).

Not that we should limit our vocab. Words themselves are beautiful, powerful, flexible, with multitudinous connotations and significations in each dancing syllable. It’s a shame that so many of them have to die.

So if you want to spend your Monday learning words that have departed, increasing your vocabulary with shells of prior meaning, have at it. There’s a ton.

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