Monday, April 27, 2009

Words Unspoken

One of my favorite words is "hyperbole." It is not the definition that I love, but rather the way the word itself sounds. The way it dances with a sexy fluidity off of the tongue. The way, when you hear it used, you think to yourself "I know that word, but it never gets used enough." Then, you try to remember its meaning but it evades you.

My penchant for the word "hyperbole" (and the word "penchant")has caused me to ponder the other great words in our English language I never use. The words I wish to use more frequently without sounding like a pompous ass. These dusty, GRE words of my dreams include:


These words have been annihilated from my grammatical garden only to be replaced by the weeds of common Mommy vernacular:

Pee Pee
Time Out

Furthermore, my charming, Emily post-like repartee has been shucked of all wit, banter, worldliness and sophistication. Not that I ever really ever WAS that charming or HAD any repartee or wit. But, I like to recreate history and pretend that I did. Or pretend that, sans rugrats, I would lapse into prose rivaling Edna St. Vincent Millay (Oh, she's showing off now!!!) Until then, here are my most frequent and scintillating conversation starters:

Stop licking the ___________ (car, shopping cart, sidewalk)
Don't eat it! Get a tissue.
Hold it in! Hold it in!
Did you wipe?
Did you wash your hands?
Stop whining.
Stop hitting.
Stop yelling.
You can't be outside naked.
I don't care.
Because I said so.
Wait until your father gets home.
I don't know.
Who tooted?
Get back in bed!
Not now.
Maybe later.
I said no.
If I have to say it one more time _______
(Fill in the blank with any type of horrific parental threat that will come up in your child's therapy 10 years later).

Ah, all those years of higher education have prepared me well for the Language of Motherhood.


Jeannie said...

LOL! Aint' that the truth. I started speaking pig latin yesterday just to feel like I was doing something intellectual and exotic.

LorDi said...

Being an English teacher, I often get to use "words unspoken", however, my students often think I am speaking a foreign langauge. Thus, I have to translate for them. We just finished reading Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing...and let me tell might as well have been written in Russian...I had to translate almost line by line....what a arduous task..oops, big word...hard task that was :)

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

The Language of Motherhood - you're so right! That's a great way to put it.

Claire said...

Oo! Oo! this is fun! You know what I can do? Turn those "icky" words back into "repartee" with the use of medspeak!! For instance: farts = flatus; pee = void; and, my personal favourite, barf = episode of emesis!

"DAHLING, I just can't void right now and my flatus is just out of control...I think I'll have an episode of emesis...sniff, sniff"

"So sorry dear! No episodes today, my plasma tv is broken!"

Ha, ha, get it? I just crack myself up.

Anonymous said...

Very good, very funny, very true! I recently said to an older man, 'Excuse me. I gotta go potty.' Ooops. Forgot to pretend I have some dignity left.

SE'LAH... said...

Love the word HYPERBOLE too...

simile is pretty cool too.

Love this post.

Chun Wong said...

Brilliant post! I too love words like hyperbole and serendipitous, what a shame we don't get to use them in our daily lives. Love your "Mommy vernacular" and conversation starters, perhaps you should try dropping some of those great literary words into your Mommy vernacular, might surprise the kids into submission! Good luck!

Chun Wong (

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