Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Don’t use big fancy words at parties without reading this first



We’re all guilty of it. You know. Going to a holiday party — family, friends, co-workers, supervisors — and misusing a big word. All we want to do is impress people and look smart, but then we trot out “inchoate” and use it in the sense of “confused, chaotic,” when it doesn’t mean that at all. Worse, we mispronounce it as “in-chote” rather than “in-ko-it.” Doh!

Been there, right? Well, a couple of years ago the New York Times put together a list of the 50 most challenging words used in the paper, and blogger Joe Heitzeberg handily compiled them and used them in sentences for you. You might want to print out these resources and keep them in your pocket for your next soirée.

I’ve always liked jejune. Don’t know why. But I find myself strangely attracted now to internecine and demarche. I’m going to spend the rest of the day coming up with a sentence that uses both of them, and maybe jejune too!

Got any favorite fancy words that aren’t on the list?


3 comments on “Don’t use big fancy words at parties without reading this first

  1. John W. Howell
    December 9, 2013

    I like impecunious. You can banter it in a number of circumstances. Approached by the guy that wants you to contribute to the football pool, you have something to say in response. “My current impecunious state will not allow me to contribute.” He goes away and spreads the word that you are going to die soon.

    • Kevin Brennan
      December 9, 2013

      Good one! Why say “broke” when you have “impecunious” in your armamentarium?

      • John W. Howell
        December 9, 2013

        armamentarium is good. If one was paid by the letter it’s a winner. Better than kit.

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This entry was posted on December 9, 2013 by in Et alia, Writing and tagged , , .
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