Friday, June 15, 2007

Building a Mighty Vocabulary

Are you a high school graduate? If so, the American Heritage Dictionary has compiled a list of 100 words you should know. Check it out. Since I am a total nerd, I spent hours looking up every one I didn't know, or wasn't sure about. I have to say that I think a lot of this list is pure bullshit. For instance, take the word: HYPOTENUSE - the side of a right triangle opposite the right angle.

Why would I need to know that? What possible relevance could that have to my daily life now that I have graduated from high school? I'll never run across it, except possibly as an answer to a crossword puzzle clue, and that's the sort of thing that's easily looked up. And judging from my grades, I doubt I even knew what it meant while I was taking Geometry in tenth grade. But who cares? This word is not necessary.

Here are a few more from the list that I think are stupid:

ZIGGURAT: a temple of Sumerian origin in the form of a pyramidal tower blah, blah.... Please.

YEOMAN: 1. a petty officer in the navy. 2. a farmer who cultivates his own land. pfffft.

MOIETY: one of two units into which a tribe or a community is divided on the basis of unilineal descent. Okay.

This is the kind of stuff that makes me crazy. I'd love to know who chose these words. It was some snot-nosed academic idiot, I'm sure. No one needs to know any of these.

My list of words every high school graduate should know:



DELINQUENT: as in, "Your payment on your student loan account is more than 30 days delinquent."

DEFAULT: failure to meet financial obligations.


TL;DR : too long; didn't read


OBESOGENIC: likely to cause someone to become excessively fat. As in, "Don't eat that delicious hydrogenated peanut butter, it's very obesogenic."


NETIZEN: a person who spends excessive amounts of time on the internet.

MEANDERTHAL: a person who is slow as molasses. As in, "Get the fuck out of my way, you stupid meanderthal!" Commonly used (by me) while driving. A handy combination of meander and neanderthal.

PASSWORD FATIGUE: the mental exhaustion that comes with trying to remember all of your various passwords to different sites.




ADEQUITE: Lindsay Lohan's highest compliment.

What words would you add to this list?


Diane said...

"attitude test" as in when speaking to a police officer or a judge, don't fail the attitude test (see Paris Hilton)

LA said...

Here are my suggestions, if by "words" you actually mean "phrases:"

Subprime loan
Reverse amortization
Full paper versus stated income
Closing costs

BTW, I wrote some sentences with the original words.

Stavros was the HYPOTENUSE in the 3-way we had the other night.

Management sits in their ivory ZIGGURAT while the rest of us peons are preparing picket signs.

Even my YEOMAN nephew thinks Bush is a jackass.

Happy Friday!

GetFlix said...

LA, are you still house hunting?!

LA said...

How could you tell, Flix?

Scottsdale Girl said...

Oil change
Alligator Mouth/Parakeet Ass
Dum Dummy Head
Interest Only Loan

Scottsdale Girl said...

oooh FOAD heh heh heh

Sudiegirl said...

I don't know, but I learned the word "gauche" from the Peanuts comic strip.

Prunella Jones said...

Those are all good suggestions.

Diane- "Attitude adjustment" is one I remember my dad saying all the time. As in, "you need a goddamn attitude adjustment, young lady!"

LA & GF- real estate definitely has it's own annoying vocab. I think "50 year mortgage" will soon be added to the list. BTW, those were fantastic sentences LA, esp. hypotenuse! I can't wait to use it at my next Swingers Club meeting.

SG- Is FOAD perhaps the name of a rock group, like G.W.A.R.?

Prunella Jones said...

Sudie- yeah, Peanuts was great. Lucy taught me how to fuck with a guy's head.

ffleur said...

Adorabobble: to describe anything cute, like, a baby panda

Abso-fookin-lutely: to exclaim while sneakily not swearing

Remediated: a real word but used in a very odd way in real estate ads to describe a repaired leaky condo

morbid misanthrope said...

Sorry about that. I picked those 100 words. Some company told me to write a bunch of words I think people ought to know. My initial list was well over 50,000 words, so they asked me to edit out all the words related to vulgarity, vulgar acts, death metal, Power Rangers, retarded babies, alcohol abuse, genital euphemisms, Pig Latin, cryptozoology, and several thousand of the words I made up. That left them with the 100 dullest words on the list. Again, I apologize, but you can blame this debacle on another snooty, inefficient bureaucracy.

prettykitty said...

i prefer to stick to the 100 words i know. no really, that's it. i only know 100 words.

D.O.M. Dan said...

I have to navigate around Meanderthals each day as I commute to and from work. I didn't know they were called that, but I will start using the word.

I sometimes use the acronym ESAD, which is similar to Scottdale Girl's FOAD.

M-M-M-Mishy said...

What I think every high school grad needs to know:

MomService: As in, living at home isn't so bad because you don't have to pay insane rent (or even pay it on time!) and you get all the benefits of MomService: Laundry, Cable Television, Stocked Fridge... There may be the occasional "Go to your room" or "Clean up after yourself" or even a "Why are you not a fully formed adult yet?!?", but overall, a sweet set up.

DadService: This one is a little more work because you have to perfect the needy, broke, starving student face. But when mastered, $20 can usually be wrangled away from a Dad's wallet. Which can then be turned around to put toward the back rent one owes...

University: A very expensive place that you will graduate from realizing that you can not get a job without going to college. Also a place where you'll spend most of your time getting drunk or stoned. Especially if you are an English or Sociology major.

College: A still expensive, but not insanely expensive place that you will graduate from realizing that you can not get a job without going to university. Also a place where you'll spend most of your time getting drunk or stoned. No matter what your chosen major is.

The Real World: That place that your high school teachers told you existed and by golly, you better crack down and learn this algebra or else you'll be lost and you will never get into either college or university and then you'll never get an upstanding job and then you'll never become a contributing member to society and then you'll die alone as a giant failure.

Algebra: Something you'll never use in the real world.

ffleur said...

Random things I remember/learned in school:

In Zanadu, did Khubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree
Where Alf the sacred river ran
Through caverans measureless to man
(Coleridge poem)

The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner contained a passage about killing an albatross. (another Coleridge poem)

A(squared) + B(squared) = C(squared)

You will never use the sign, cosign or tangent buttons on your calculater after leaving school

mon, ma, meis
ton, ta, teis
leur, leur, leurs
(something to do with French conjegation)

Don't try to understand the scoring of tennis. It makes no sense.

I haven't been picked last for a team since I left high school.

People who were popular in high school will never be that successful again. After high school, the geeks, nerbs and brains go on to rule the world.

Prunella Jones said...

Ffleur- I've also seen a lot of the word "twee" used lately to describe something adorable, but it sort of sounds like an insult, doesn't it. Adorabobble is better.

Morbid- ah, it all makes sense now. Thank you for clearing that up. I assume that the ban on genital euphemisims is the only reason "vagina dentata" didn't make the list.

PK- come now, I don't believe that! A bright girl like you? Actually, now thwat I think about it, I probably only know about a hundred as well. And most of them are swear words.

Dan- meanderthal's are everywhere, unfortunately.

Would ESAD stand for Eat Some Asparagus, Dumbass? That was the only thing I could come up with.

Prunella Jones said...

Mish- very true all of it. But are University and College two different things in Canada? Here they are both taken to mean the four year institution after high school. Is University your term for grad school?

If I could do things over I wouldn't go to college at all. I would have gone to a trade school and learned plumbing or air conditioning repair. Something you can earn big bucks for and not have to worry about having your job shipped over to India.

Ffleur- I can't remember a damn thing from high school. I've repressed the whole experience.

I really like that Coleridge poem.

LA said...

I learned a new word the other night that I thought I'd better share with everyone:


You might need a little ganga to go there...

D.O.M. Dan said...

FOAD is F*** Off And Die.
ESAD is Eat S*** And Die.
No Asparagus needed.

OldWiseOne said...

Pru - in Canada:

University = 4 year post-secondary institution where one obtains a degree (or degrees), including graduate school for Masters and PhD programs

College = 1-2 year post-secondary institution where one obtains a diploma, OR spends 2 years doing courses towards a degree and then transfers to (a more expensive and harder to get in to) university to finish the last 2 years of a degree program; many but not all colleges also include vocational (trade school) programs

University-College = the hypotenuse in the right triangle of the Canadian post-secondary educational system, a college that has been given degree granting status for a limited number of programs (because universities are over-crowded)

honkeie2 said...

Man-gina: adj; When a man has become so over weight that his crotch area now resembles a vagina.

MILF: adj; Mothers I'd Lke to Fu*#

Bushizims: anything someone can say that is really really stupid.

Prunella Jones said...

LA- thanks, that's a great word. Very interesting reading. (you were right about the ganga) I love this kind of stuff.

Dan- those are good to know.

OldWiseOne- thanks for clearing that up. Canada always seems to do things more sensibly. I swear I'm moving if we get another moron president.

Honk- "mangina" nearly made me spit tea all over my keyboard.

Sudiegirl said... are some things I learned in high school:

1. In a pinch, if the pads on your saxophone fall off you can stick them back on with Trident gum.

2. Sometimes, your world literature teacher needs to be gently reminded which Greek god did which thing (i.e. Dionysus vs. Bacchus).

3. Just because your teachers have degrees in their subjects doesn't mean they know doody about them. When my jr. year history teacher tried to prove teenagers were culturally illiterate, I was the only one who could answer his questions and was accused of not letting anyone else answer. Furthermore, he had to be gently reminded that Montreal was in Quebec, which is (in turn) located in Canada. I almost had to go to the principal's office because I pointed this out.

4. I should have taken more classes in office ed.

Thanks for that walk down memory lane...

M-M-M-Mishy said...

Old Wise One explained the college vs. university situation pretty well. I have two college diplomas and the "real world" has told me over and over again that I need university. So off I go again. But, that also means that I only have to do about 2 years of university, rather than starting at the year one as a freshman.

Good times!

This was a good post, Pru. Lots of comments!

Frannie Farmer said...

Wow! I feel so much more educated having stopped by and read all of these great words/terms .. you know I am going to find a way to incorporate them into my next speech.

Scottsdale Girl said...

FOAD = Fuck Off And Die, my words made that up when typed out in list form. I found it amusing. But then, I am easily amused and also not so much the bright

Jenster said...

LOL!!! I'm too tired to think of a new word, but I sure enjoyed yours!

Prunella Jones said...

Sudie- Ugh, high school. Sounds like you were a smart kid so it's no wonder you had a hard time of it.

Here are some things I learned in high school.

1. if you dye your hair with koolaid it will be very stiff and hard to comb.

2. if you where old prom dresses with Chuck Taylors people will point and laugh at you. (maybe not nowadays since Avril Lavigne has adopted this look)

3. if you mercilessly and loudly ridicule the popular people you can carve out a little place for yourself as queen of the geeks.

Mish- only two more years of school? Enjoy it. Strech that sucker out for as long as you can. The real world sucks.

I'm happy with this post too. I've never gotten so many comments before and I'm addicted to comments.

Fran- you never know when new words will come in handy.

SG- I am also easily amused. Cursing and fart jokes never get old to me.

Jen- I appreciate your taking the time to comment anyway.