One last chance to put words in your mouth

Cape Breton Post - - EDITORIAL - Ted Markle This is my last col­umn in this pa­per (in print or on­line). Thanks for read­ing each week. It has been a joy to share my sto­ries and to ex­change feed­back though so­cial me­dia and email. You can reach me at ted­markle24@ – Twit­ter : @tedma

“Words are, of course, the most pow­er­ful drug used by mankind.” – Rud­yard Ki­pling

I re­mem­ber as a young boy ex­plain­ing to my mother that there were times I could ac­tu­ally per­ceive the per­son­al­ity of cer­tain words. As any good mother should, she shook her head, took away my cough medicine and sent me to read in my room. To this day, how­ever, my tor­rid love affair with words con­tin­ues, so I’ve cho­sen a se­lec­tion of re­cent dis­cov­er­ies and cur­rent favourites to share with you.

You may not find them in any dic­tio­nary, (and some aren’t even in English), but you may dis­cover that they fur­ther your abil­ity to say just the right thing in just the right way.

Desti­ne­sia: Have you ever run down­stairs, walked into a room and had a wave of con­fu­sion wash over you? The like­li­hood of desti­ne­sia in­creases with age. It’s that sen­sa­tion of know­ing where you are but hav­ing ab­so­lutely no idea why you are there.

Trep­pen­witz: Don’t you hate it when you can’t come up with a smart re­ply on the spot? Trust the Ger­mans to have a spe­cific word for that frus­trat­ing feel­ing that over­comes you when you think of the per­fect come­back but the mo­ment has al­ready passed. Trep­pen­witz means lit­er­ally ‘stair-joke’ – as in you’re out the door and on your way down­stairs when the per­fect re­sponse dawns upon you.

Bal­la­troon: This 17th cen­tury word – de­rived from the Latin for “to prat­tle” – means a fool­ish or non­sen­si­cal per­son. I love the sound of this word and I feel it ap­plies splen­didly nowa­days to many a na­tivist politi­cian.

Ask­hole: Do you know any­one who puts ag­gres­sive, inane or in­ap­pro­pri­ate ques­tions to you? Ever been cor­nered at a party by a close-talk­ing chat­ter­box want­ing to know if you were aware of a laun­dry list of triv­ial mat­ters? Ask­hole is what you call some­one who re­fuses to take the hint that you aren’t in­ter­ested in their un­wanted pry­ing.

Mas­ter­dat­ing: For those whose best per­for­mances some­times oc­cur when they are fly­ing solo … there’s a word for that. Now you know what to call it when you go alone to a movie or treat your­self to a fine din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. You’re mas­ter­dat­ing!

Bibac­ity: An­other 17th cen­tury ex­pres­sion that ap­pro­pri­ately rhymes with in­ca­pac­ity. Bibac­ity is my new pre­ferred word for ‘out­ra­geous drink­ing.’

Luggen­presse: If you haven’t heard it lately, I fear you will soon enough. Pop­u­lar­ized in the 1930’s and mak­ing a come­back at cer­tain gath­er­ings, it’s Ger­man for ‘ly­ing press.’

Moobs: Ox­ford Dic­tio­nary of­fi­cially in­cor­po­rated this one in 2016. It’s a smooth, if not el­e­gant, com­bi­na­tion of man and boobs and refers to the bane of the in­ac­tive video-game player and the mid­dle-aged man – flabby man breasts.

Kal­sarikan­nit: Leave it to the Finns to come up with this de­light­ful word that per­fectly de­scribes what I’ll be do­ing more of now that I’m not fac­ing any col­umn sub­mis­sion dead­lines. It means to drink at home alone in your un­der­wear, with no in­ten­tion of go­ing out. The en­light­ened Finns have even cre­ated an emoji for Kal­sarikan­nit. My new ob­jec­tive is to con­vince Sue to join me in this en­deav­our!


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