Words. What are They Good For?*

Henceforth, I think I will try to use the following words in an attempt to sound smarter. (All the better if these words succeed in making me sound smarter than I actually am.)

    • ambit: scope. Example for insertion: substitute “Huh? Was that in the reading?” with “I believe the assertion you’re making is unwarranted by the ambit of our reading”.
    • subsisting: to mean existing. Example for insertion: replace “What? But I wasn’t even born yet when that show was on.” (in whiny, nasally voice) with “The subsisting influence of the show you mentioned had waned by the time I became imprinted with cultural experiences.” (in authoritative, condescending, shift-the-blame-to-other-side voice)
    • coterminous, coextensive, concomitant: the same in spatial or temporal senses. Insertions should be easy; just replace “the same” in whatever speech you’re espousing with whichever of these two strikes your fancy at the moment. Or both! Why settle for less when more can fit and comprehension is at best diminished and better still, deemphasized altogether?
    • fora: technically the plural of “forum” but really useful as broadcasts of one’s years in higher education. Really, really useful for lending an air of respectability to the endless Web surfing that one is doing, e.g. “I’m participating in cyberspace fora to research information seeking and information disseminating patterns of the bored, insane, and inane, a group hitherto neglected by the information professionals.”
    • easement: “I get to use your land because my use is considered a public good.” This is a toughie to work into a conversation. I’ll have to keep my eye out for an opportunity.
    • laches: being too late to profitably blame somebody else for your troubles. No ready use springs to mind, but the moral of this word’s existence (subsistence?) is clear. Always scream bloody murder as soon as you can.

What do you think? This is just a start, of course; what do you think are other words that I can add to my repertoire? Perhaps words like “pompous”, “supercilious”, or “bombastic”? There’s a chance that these are words that I won’t be using so much as hearing directed my way if I were engage in such highfaluting sophistry, but a veneer of intelligence is not without its price, right?


*: I’m engaging in facetious verbiage**. All of these words can be, and one hopes usually are, used properly — in places where they are the best, most succinct vehicles for communicating clear, substantive thought.

**: I’m joking.

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