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When I grew up, my parents occasionally asked us to be “Pacific”—in other words—to state exactly what we meant. It was years before I recognized the irony of using the wrong word for “specific.”

One reason I love English is there is a wealth of words for every  moment. I have heard that interpreters enjoy translating into English because of the diversity of words available for expressing a thought. How specific do words get? Did you know there is a word for the carousing of seamen aboard Greenland whaling ships (Mallemaroking)? Now that’s rather specific. Or how about vigesimation (the act of killing every twentieth person)? Yep, I can see the usefulness of that one in ordinary conversations.

I have aunts and cousins who are bathykopian (deep bosomed). My aunts are known though for keeping items in the ample area. At a recent reception my brother discovered that by calling one of them on her cell phone he could get her bosom to bombilate (buzz continuously). “Stop it Richard!”

Are you an autotonsorialist (one who cuts their own hair) or are you an eccendentesiast (one who fakes a smile) when you encounter an autotonsorialist? Are you a gongoozler (an idle spectator) of internet discussions because you are also a bit of a quidnunc (one who always wants to know what is going on) but don’t want ultracrepidarian behavior applied to you? (Of one who speaks or offers opinions on matters beyond their knowledge)

Some words seem less than their meaning. For example “brontide” is a flat word, but “the low rumbling of distant thunder” may lead me to basorexia (an overwhelming desire to kiss). And who wants to know you enjoy petrichor? (The smell of rain on dry ground). I will confess though to being a bit of a nilipot (someone who walks without shoes).

Some words seem to be useful only to be written. Who is going to trouble to say “psithurism” to describe the sound of wind in trees or rustling leaves or “sgiomlaireached” (the habit of dropping in at mealtimes)? However if you had to deal with someone who is sgiomlaireached, you might pretend to be a scolecophagous (one who eats worms).

Have your children try this one: Hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian (pertaining to extremely long words) and they’ll love (but probably never need): Zenzizenzizenzic (a number raised to the eighth power).

Before I become skilled at adoxography (writing on an unimportant subject), or taken for a philosophunculist (one who pretends to know more than they do to impress others), here is my preantepenultimate (fourth from last) word: floccinaucinihilipilification. It’s what you can do with this post: the categorizing of something that is useless or trivial.

So next time you have lethologica (the inability to recall a precise word for something), embrace strikhedonia (the pleasure of being able to say “to heck with it”) and defenestrate the whole thing. (Throw it out the window.)

However, for those of you who enjoy their philogist identity here is a link to Merriam Webster’s Word of the Day.

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