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PENINSULA ZOOMERS: A longstanding love of words

Columnist makes no apologies for multisyllabic musings

I was once asked why I use big words in my newspaper column.

I tersely replied, “Because I can.”

It’s my column and I shall be as sesquipedalian as I want.

My love of lexis is longstanding and it continues to this day. In fact, I begin each morning with Wordle, Canuckle and Quordle.

It seems the entire planet is hooked on these word games. In case you are not one of us, you have six tries to guess a five-letter word. Simple as that.

It gets my day off to the right start with a simple sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Just like making my bed in the morning.

As our verbal currency seems to be reduced to 120 characters in the Twitter-verse or a few inexplicable figures and emojis in our texting exchanges, it’s no wonder today’s problems are often a result of poor communication.

And the fact no one can speak the Queen’s English.

In fact, “weird Al” Yankovic has written a parody on this very subject called Word Crimes with his following take:

You really need a full time proofreader…

Well you should hire some cunning linguist

To help you distinguish

What is proper English.

And don’t get me started on this generation and the next’s inability to master cursive penmanship.

I make no apology for my love of words and puzzles and I especially enjoy solving the weekend cryptic crossword in the Globe and Mail.

Words can hurt you and words can heal you.

Words can soothe you and seduce you.

Words can educate you and entertain you.

Words can enlighten you and elevate you.

You can even have fun with words as witnessed in a sign I saw at a local campsite, which read “We put the fun in dysfunctional!”

Speaking of dysfunctional, I am now reading Tina Brown’s The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor – the Truth and the Turmoil.

As I love to read, I relish the thought of increasing my vocabulary and Ms. Brown has certainly contributed in this endeavour. As we Zoomers know, new learning is a healthy exercise for our aging brains.

Speaking of fun, see if you can guess the definitions of the following 12 newest additions to my personal lexicon.

Effulgence: feeling sated after a huge meal; inability to laugh; radiant splendor or brilliance.

Ululating: how you feel when playing the ukulele; gargling with salt water; wailing as an expression of strong emotion.

Termagant: pest exterminator; an Oxford University graduate; a harsh-tempered or overbearing woman. (Actually, I did know this word but I love it and wanted to share it with you).

Jejune: forever young; a French pastry; naïve and simplistic.

Demotic: a confused supporter of President Biden; a born-again Christian; relating to colloquial language used by ordinary people.

Bibulous: not wearing a bra; a messy eater; excessively fond of drinking alcohol.

Oleaginous: a type of oil which is low in cholesterol; belligerent; obsequious.

Apparatchik: correct term for Eskimo; a clone of an inukshuk; an official of a large political organization.

Simulacrum: a media scrum where Trudeau is absent; a podcast in mono; an unsatisfactory imitation or substitute.

Bifurcated: Having double vision; being accused of bigamy; divided into two branches or forks.

Equipoise: French-Canadian etiquette; an endangered species; balance of forces or interests.

Sinecure: A manicure of only one hand; punishment for bad behaviour; a position of status requiring little or no work.

The meaning of the above words is the third answer, but you knew that!

And just so you know, I feel empathy for Camilla and Charles, but not for Megan.

April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a national group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.

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