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23 March 2007

I just used the word "modicum" in conversation... [More:]...and got a funny look. I want some more words that will elicit the same response!
It's hard to know what those words would be. Modicum is a perfectly cromulent word, and I use it all the time with nary a glance.
posted by omiewise 23 March | 10:16
posted by matthewr 23 March | 10:21
posted by Miko 23 March | 10:32
I slip in "attenuate" all the time, also "mitigate."
posted by Hugh Janus 23 March | 10:33
If "modicum" got you a funny look, you might try "capsicum", or "talcum". The person is clearly a porndog.
posted by taz 23 March | 10:37
in that case, 'vade mecum'.
posted by Miko 23 March | 10:39
'sporadically' works well
posted by talitha_kumi 23 March | 10:46
Exacerbate is a personal favorite.
posted by mike9322 23 March | 10:46
How about "misremember"? It's such a GREAT word, and allows for grace when a misunderstanding occurs.
posted by richat 23 March | 10:47
my daughter recently used gangsta and consequently in the same sentence. that was memorable.
posted by auntbunny 23 March | 11:01
mike9322 - I use exacerbate all the time. It's such a lovely word.
posted by talitha_kumi 23 March | 11:53
I used 'aglet' correctly on Sunday.
posted by plinth 23 March | 12:07
Callipgyan is my current favorite, though terpsicordian came up recently and got axed by my copy editor.
(I have a running battle with themó They insist that the college paper should have, at most, an eigth-grade reading level. I insist that we're in fucking college, and therefore, a college-aged reading level is more appropriate. Further, the students can buy a fucking dictionary, since the point of using big words is to use fewer and meet wordcount while saying exactly what I want to. Plus, I can't swear like I'd like to, which means that I have to be circumabulatorily coy when I want to call Bullshit.)
posted by klangklangston 23 March | 12:42
I use the word "hemiola" all the time, and "pseudo-hemiola" when I'm talking about other polyrhythms that have a similar feel. When I'm in the swirl of a hemiolic structure, I feel like a Mevlevi dervish: wherever I turn, I see the face of God.
posted by Hugh Janus 23 March | 13:28
I used the word "lacuna" in a conversation the other day. In my defence, I was talking to another lawyer.
posted by essexjan 23 March | 14:11
Once when I was in college, I got complimented for being the first person somebody had ever heard using "albeit" in conversation.

I had geeky friends.
posted by stilicho 23 March | 14:16
I use the prefix sesqui all the time. My favourite combo is the sesquifortnight to denote ten days (a unit English sorrily needs) and sesquicentennial because it sounds so good.

Also osculate/osculation, salience and bakku-shan

klangklangston I love callipgyan but I've used it enough that in my circle where it's appropriate that everyone know what it means. But what does terpsicordian mean? The closest word I could find was terpsicordian.
posted by Mitheral 23 March | 14:36
Terpsichore is the Muse of dance and lyric poetry, and 'terpsochordian' means 'having to do with dance,' or something along those general lines. Is that what you're thinking of?
posted by box 23 March | 14:52
eyeballkid used ball-peen in a conversation about a conversation. And that's all I have to say about that.
posted by danostuporstar 23 March | 15:24
Uh, that's 'terpsichordian.' I think. Spelling.
posted by box 23 March | 15:31
When we were kids and we wanted to threaten one another, my brother and I would say, "I'm gonna knock in your head with a ball-peen hammer!"

Needless to say, our parents did not approve.
posted by Hugh Janus 23 March | 15:44
It's actually terpsichorean, which is why I rarely make fun of people's spelling, especially when there isn't a red underline reminding me to check it...
posted by klangklangston 24 March | 01:23
So a good friend of mine is going through a nasty divorce || Blatant self-promotion: