The Daily Trials of an English Major: Let's Sound Fancy!
We want to sound as fancy as possible. That's why we're so ebullient about this post by Courtney Guth! —Sparkitors
I’m sure it isn’t shocking that I love words; after all, I am an English major. Germanic or Latinate, I don’t discriminate. At the risk of sounding completely clichéd, words express my innermost feelings and are a light unto my soul. Words reveal what my actions cannot. Words also make giving directions a heck of a lot easier. Without words, you wouldn’t be reading this blog. You wouldn’t be reading at all. Now that’s a scary thought.
As language has evolved from cave paintings to written words to text messages, more and more words have been created. It’s almost impossible to count the number of words in the English language alone. Of the tens of thousands of words in the dictionary, here are few of my favorites. For those of you who want to sound fancy and pretentious (see below), this is my holiday gift to you. Drop a few of these at your next holiday party!
Definition: Overabundance; excess.
Example: After receiving a plethora of gifts from her family and friends, Betsy felt guilty about not buying anyone anything for Christmas.
Courtney comments: I try to use this word whenever I can. However, because of the plethora of words in my vocabulary, I sometimes opt for other words. Having a lot of stuff is fancy. Using the word plethora is fancy.
Definition: Anything that puzzles.
Example: As an English major, I find mathematics to be a never-ending conundrum, full of problems that I never understand.
Courtney comments: Next time you don’t understand something someone is saying to you, just use this word! You’ll confuse them just as much as they confused you. What a fancy situation filled with conundrums.
Definition: Unlikeness; difference; dissimilarity.
Example: I find it rather ridiculous that you did not notice the striking dissimilitude between the goat and the cow.
Courtney comments: Dissimilitude is like different only it’s fancier. Therefore, it’s better. It’s wonderful for pointing out differences between texts on your next AP Exam in order to score that elusive and fancy five. (NOTE: Use of “dissimilitude” does not guarantee a 5.)
Definition: Any of several edible North American turtles of the family Emydidae, inhabiting fresh or brackish waters, especially the diamondback terrapin.
Example: Terry had a penchant for terrapins with a side of pasta.
Courtney Comments: I’m a bit biased on this one. The terrapin is my school’s mascot. (Fear the Turtle!). I advise you to use this word when discussing how the Terrapins are going to crush the Blue Devils in basketball this winter.
Definition: A strong inclination, taste, or liking for something.
Example: As evident by this post, I clearly have a penchant for words.
Courtney comments: After using this in the terrapin sentence, I realized I’m fond of this word too. When all of your family members ask you about your current interests, use penchant instead of saying “Ummm I like writing?” Aunt Sally will be impressed.
Definition: The offspring of a female horse and a male zebra.
Example: The little zebrulas were so adorable that I almost didn’t believe that they existed.
Courtney comments: Apparently Microsoft Word does not believe zebrulas exist either. I promise you, it is a word! Microsoft Word just cannot comprehend its fanciness. Who wouldn’t want a zebrula? They’re so much cooler than ligers. They also make one excellent play in Scrabble.
Definition: Containing a fallacy; logically unsound.
Example: Your argument that it was raining gumdrops yesterday is completely fallacious!
Courtney comments: If your family ends up getting in an intense dinner table debate, this is a great word to whip out and use to attack the counterargument. You’ll be sure to sound pretentious.
Definition: Characterized by an assumption of dignity or importance.
Example: The pretentious hipster claimed, “I only listened to obscure bands like Flaming Tissue Paper. You’ve probably never heard of them.”
Courtney Comments: I use this word all the time, especially when I dress as a hipster for Halloween. It was a tough choice between pretentious and ostentatious. I recommend using both in order to sound twice as fancy.
Definition: Complete nonsense.
Example: The aspects of flummery in Alice in Wonderland make it one of my favorite novels; I have a penchant for all things nonsensical.
Courtney comments: I’ll admit flummery sounds like some weird sort of pudding, which doesn’t make sense, but that’s OK—flummery isn’t supposed to make sense!
Definition: To make or use gestures, especially in an animated or excited manner, with or instead of speech.
Example: My friends complain that I gesticulate too much when I talk; apparently my hand gestures are distracting.
Courtney comments: It’s completely true that I do use my hands too much when I talk. I guess gesticulating is just one of my favorite pastimes.
Final Notes on Being Fancy: I advise you to gesticulate as often as possible at your next holiday party. It will distract your friends from your fallacious arguments filled with flummery, thus causing a conundrum. Be sure to discuss the dissimilitude between terrapins and zebrulas. It will clearly demonstrate your penchant for acting pretentious. Just think of the plethora of people who will admire you and your newfound fanciness!
If all else fails, just smile, nod, and sip the eggnog with your pinky up.
Related post: The Daily Trials of an English Major: Let's Sound Fancy!