Friday, January 8, 2010

2010 Word-Choice Resolutions

I’m not a big fan of new year’s resolutions. In fact, I’ve had the same single resolution for at least the least three years: To not break my new year’s resolution. (And I still haven’t!)
But this year, I figure I ought to try to better myself and my relationships with other people. And since most of my interactions with people are through language, I figure that’s a good (and by good I mean easy) place to start. So this year I’m resolving to pay more attention to the words I choose every day.

Ten Words I Will Try to Use More Often in 2010

  • Embiggen: Homer Simpson’s d’oh has made it into a few reputable dictionaries in the recent past, but I don’t think this other Simpsonism is yet widely accepted by lexicographers. I hope that if I can get more people to use embiggen, by using it often myself, we can jump that hurdle and get it in a dictionary or two.
  • Indubitably: This is so much more interesting than a simple “yes,” or even an “absolutely.” Plus, in speech, indubitably can be further improved by altering one’s voice. Saying indubitably like Alfred Hitchcock can carry some gravitas; saying it like Cookie Monster carries more gravy.
  • Ridonkulous: This is just fun to say. Plus, it’s useful when you want to piss off language purists.
  • Chutzpah: Chutzpah has more chutzpah than gumption has gumption or guts has guts. And it feels like a more joyous word — you can’t say it while you’re frowning.
  • Ennui: Weariness and dissatisfaction — the perfect word to describe so much of my life. I may begin insisting that people address me as Ennui the Eighth.
  • Nonplussed: It’s about time people started to use this word correctly and more often, and I can lead by example.
  • Slubberdegullion: Currently one of my favorite words, which is reason enough to use it more often.
  • Simplicity: I must use this word often and always keep it in mind. It will be the key to my economic health this year.
  • Zippy: Sherlock Holmes has elementary, JJ Walker has dyn-o-mite, and Fessig the Sicilian has inconceivable! I’m claiming zippy as my catchword.

Ten Words I Will Avoid (or Continue to Avoid) Using in 2010

  • Utilize: I already avoid this and will continue to do so. Stop utilizing things and start using them!
  • Chillax: I’m just not the kind of guy who can pull this word off in casual conversation, especially since I never chill, and I rarely relax. For me, chillax is just ridonkulous.
  • Google (as a verb): Google pissed me off when it released Sidewiki, and I haven’t been too thrilled with some of the other branches I’ve seen them trying to grow. Consequently, I’m using Google less and less for my Internet searches. So I will avoid the verb google for both practical and political reasons.
  • Neat: What a dull, lifeless, noncommittal word. When a person tells you that something you did was neat, they’re really just being nice. It wasn’t outstanding, nor awesome, nor impressive, nor unbelievable, nor astounding. It was just neat.
  • Cool: See neat.
  • Bailiwick: I use this word entirely too often. I need to replace it with words like demesne, domain, realm, sphere, doghouse, and so on.
  • Crap: Simply not descriptive enough. Besides, so much stuff around here is crap that using the word is redundant.
  • Fillers of all types: I’ve managed to purge the useless “like” from my side of conversations, but I can still use some work ridding my speech of uhs, ums, and wikiwikiwikis.
  • Obamalogisms: If you ever hear me say obamanation, obamacare, obamamama, obamify, or any other words of this ilk, please slap me. Hard.
Those of you who took some of the more advanced mathematics classes in school might notice that neither of these lists contains ten words. Help me complete this list: What words should I avoid or use more often, and why?