Superfluous Lexicon #14

Six words you might want to know, but it's really not that big a deal.

Zack S. Westby Zack S. West


We're starting with a slightly complex one this week, but it'll all make sense in a moment. People have a tendency to use chintzy correctly, but do so entirely by accident. While it essentially means either cheap or gaudy, the origin of the word allows us to use it far more accurately. Chintz is a type of colorful fabric that did not gain it's color from expensive dyes, but rather printed or painted on. So when we describe something as chintzy, we are saying it is like chintz. Something that at first glance appears valuable and vibrant, but upon closer inspection, it is revealed to be anything but. This is traditionally an item, like chintzy jewelry, but don't limit yourself. Next time you are at a chintzy party, with a chintzy date, eating chintzy hour d'oeuvres, meeting chintzy people who give you chintzy business cards with their chintzy job on it… you'll know what to say.

Example Sentence: "This is all chintzy as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"


You remember a while back when I taught you all the word pusillanimous? No? Here's a refresher. Well, odiousis another one of those words that just digs deep. At least, after they've looked it up. And, strangely enough, it too sounds like it should have something to do with unpleasant scents. The thing that makes odious such a scathing word ends up becoming a matter of judgment. You may hate someone; you may think they are a vile, amoral monster. But that's just you. Odious means that they are so horrible that no matter what insults are slung at them, ribs are broken or feathers are tarred, they have earned every last second of it. It's not just being horrible.  It's being so horrible that there is nothing that can be done to them that would cause us to feel an ounce of remorse. Ever.

Example Sentence: Maybe if Muammar Ghaddafi wasn't such an odiousleader, someone might have actually been sad about his death.


There is no way I'm going to be able to describe this in a paragraph, but fortunately, I'm taking it on in the next EIRW as well. We all know what philosophy is, right? Well, Epistemologyis a branch of philosophy that focuses on the study of knowledge. I know that sounds a little roundabout, but it makes sense. How do you know that the things you believe to be true actually are? How do you separate truth from belief? What is fact? Man, I could go on for hours. And often literally have. Epistemology is the intellectual mischief-maker's favorite thing. How do I know? Exactly.

Example Sentence: Of course, if you ask me to prove that my definition of Epistemologyis accurate, we might be here a while.


Lignifyis a very respectable scientific word that describes the process by which normal plant cells begin acquire lignin and transform into wood. Buuuuuuuuuut… if you go to any dictionary anywhere, all it will say is "Lignify: verb; to become wood, or cause to become woody." It doesn't take much to figure out how everyone who knows this word uses it.

Example Sentence: You be the soil, I'll be a sapling. If you get moist, I'll lignify.


Before you start guessing, let me clarify. This is not about advocates for dashing but unscrupulous Han Solo type heroes. It is also definitely not the opening of an book in Chinese, because the dictionary isn't as racist as we all hope. Proroguemeans to delay or postpone. It's somewhat of an official term, used by governing bodies and legislatures scattered around the world. When an individual prorogues an issue, they are basically saying "Psssht, we'll deal with that shit later."

Example Sentence: I joined the Prorogueparty to support anti-heroes, but we never get anything done because everyone keeps stalling!


So I'm sure you've all come up with a way to use prorogue already, because there's probably something you are currently proroguing to read this article. But lets be honest here for a minute, just you and me. And the rest of the internet. Most of the time when we procrastinate, it's because we know ultimately that it is not a thing that we will ever do. So why prorogue when you can just put the kiboshon it? That means just put a stop to it. End it completely. Over and done with. Kaput. Finito. You know it's never gonna get done. Why not use two fun new words instead of one?

Example Sentence: Put the kibosh on me. I'm done.