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15 Words To Use In Your Next Conversation

This post isn’t about big words. It’s just words I really, really like – maybe because of the way they look or sound or stuff they make me think of. So here they are – read them and make a solemn vow to use them at least one time. Trust me. It’ll be fun. :-)

(1) MORIBUND

First of all, I like this word because it looks to me like a Japanese word. Something very Asian about it – the ‘mori’ and the ‘bund’ like Shanghai Bund. Of course, the actual meaning is approaching death, which is rather funny. “Ooh, are we feeling moribund today?”

(2) SCHOOLMARMISH

Schoolmarmish means someone who has the matronly qualities of teacher in a kampong. I’m seeing unkempt hair, poorly applied makeup, horribly unfashionable apparel and heels never exceeding half an inch. Someone who is strict and is a stickler for rules. ‘Marm’ is similar in sound to ‘mom’ though not in a warm, nice maternal way; but in a more unflattering way.

frasier2

(3) POMPOUS

Something about the word pompous which sounds so inflated, full of self-importance. Look at this: pomp and pageantry. The word even looks pretty on a page – maybe it’s the circular shape of the letters P and O and another O and the sleek curve of the U. I think a little dose of pomposity is endearing and quite funny – maybe that’s why I liked Frasier so much back when it was on TV. :-)

(4) MONGER

We all know the neighbourhood fishmonger but I like how ‘monger’ can be attached almost like a suffix to any other thing you’re peddling – eg. fearmongering, pornmongering, etc. Just picture a bunch of smarmy, middle-aged men peddling little jars labeled with scare tactics like ‘death’, ‘regret’ or ‘pain’ in the pasar.

(5) ENNUI

First of all, I love the way this word looks. So unusual. Almost foreign. I also love the way it’s pronounced: ohn-wee. Isn’t that exotic? It means oppressive boredom, like when you’re stuck listening to some droning ignoranus and you’re slipping into a sea of ennui, you know, before you proceed into a state of moribund. *snore*

john_cleese211

(6) VACUOUS

I heard this years ago on Monty Python’s Flying Circus when this guy went to John Cleese asking to buy an argument. They get into a fight and John Cleese yells, “Don’t give me that, you snotty faced heap of parrot droppings! … Shut your festering gob, you tit! Your type really makes me puke, you vacuous, toffy-nosed, malodorous pervert!!!” – hahahahaaa!! That was so damn funny I still remember it today and still love the word vacuous (stupid) along with snotty (conceited), gob (a small lump) and malodorous (stinky).

(7) FLUMMOX

Sounds to me like a vacuum cleaner brand (I grew up with Electrolux, what can I say?). Flummox means confused, perplexed. Say flummoxed and I imagine a person with eyeballs as wide as saucers, practically bulging out of his sockets; mouth rounded into a perfect ‘O’, eyebrows twisted into knots. Flummox is a funny-sounding, funny-looking word.

beadle

(8) SMARMY

This is someone we’d call ‘damn yong sui’ – someone with a face so sleazy, so oily (figuratively, of course) and with so much insincerity oozing out of every pore that you just want to bitch-slap the smarm out of them. Beadle, the evil Judge Turpin’s idiot sidekick in Sweeney Todd comes to mind. Timothy Spall played him so well and was so horribly repulsive that I squirmed in my seat the whole time.

(9) HEBETUDE

I remember seeing this word in an article in Time magazine many years ago, “… in a terminal funk of hebetude and sloth …” and fell in love with it. It’s an odd-looking little word. While it means mental lethargy or dullness, the word itself doesn’t really reflect it. It’s also cool that until today, ‘hebetude’ is still underlined in Word as a misspelled word. Haha.

(10) SPIEL

You know that scene in the Exorcist when the girl pukes? (Blech) That’s what I imagine spiel to be. While the actual definition is to say something at great length to persuade (I say con!) someone into doing something, to me, there’s just something very negative about spiel. Even the pronunciation of the word … it isn’t a word you say, it’s a word you spit out. Talk about verbal diarrhea.

dwight_schrute

(11) MEGALOMANIA

There’s something so wonderfully maniacal about this word. It sounds so pompous (yay!) and evil. The world is full of megalomaniacs – even those with a little authority can suffer from megalomania. What was really funny was this episode of The Office when resident sycophant Dwight becomes drunk with power when he gets to decide which of his colleagues would have to work over the weekend. “This is so sad. This is the smallest amount of power I’ve ever seen go to someone’s head,” Jim says. That was so funny. :-)

(12) SLUGABED

Slugabed speaks for itself: a late sleeper. This is my nickname for my boyfriend who’s a loyal member of a species that can slug around in bed until the ungodly hour of 2pm. Of course, he also goes to bed at the ungodly hour of 6am on a regular basis. I will never understand the concept, not even if I live to be a hundred.

(13) DOUR

Someone with a sour face. When I see this word, I picture an overweight woman, scornful expression etched on her puffy features, lips so thin that they resemble bent razor blades, patches of powdery dough all over her face. In one hand is a rolling pin while the other’s perched on her ample hip. She’s standing in an almost combative pose. Yup. That’s what I see when I see ‘dour’.

(14) CLAPTRAP

I loved the phrase ‘unctuous claptrap’ so much that I wrote it down in my dictionary. Claptrap is almost onomatopoeic (a word that sounds like the sound made by the thing it’s referring to – come again?). Claptrap means empty language – yammer yammer yammer, blah blah blah, etc. Come to think of it, maybe claptrap should be craptrap. Hey, I just invented a neologism! Craptrap: empty language that’s also full of sh*t.

smeagol

(15) TROGLODYTE

I love troglodyte. It means a Neanderthal that lives in a hole. Hahaha … that pretty much describes men in general, doesn’t it? Offense intended. But I like this word because it looks so troll-like. I think Hunchback of Notre-Dame. I think shriveled, skeletal gargoyles. I think Smeagol. I think Benjamin Button before he turned into Brad Pitt.

42 comments on “15 Words To Use In Your Next Conversation

  1. Sarah
    June 13, 2009

    Hi I think this is a fantastic blog, keep up the good work…

    Like

  2. Meiann
    June 13, 2009

    i know of pompous people who are so smarmy that they have no idea that they’re troglodytes. They often cause me to be flummox… ;) miss ya!

    Like

    • Winnie Yong
      June 13, 2009

      Bear-bear! … better to be in a state of being flummoxed than in ennui or a state of hebetude … hahahaha

      Like

      • Meiann
        June 13, 2009

        big words, big words! too many big words for a saturday night :) bear bear head go kaboom!! :) hehe…

        Like

  3. Russ Chan
    June 13, 2009

    I am pretty sure that John Cleese said ‘……you twit….’ instead of ‘……you tit…’ hahaha

    Like

    • Winnie Yong
      June 13, 2009

      Great. one of the few times I typo something and it has to do with boobies!

      Like

  4. Anonymously Secret
    June 13, 2009

    Thank you for the big words! I am thinking of using them on people who irks or annoys me. Of course, the best part is: they wouldn’t understand me!

    Like

    • winnie
      June 14, 2009

      Haha, yes … and after you’re greeted with blank looks, you raise your eyebrow and look at them as if they belonged to the underbelly of a slug. Aahhh … such pleasure. (Hmm, i’m beginning to sounds like I have some underlying unresolved issues!)

      Like

  5. Fooman
    June 14, 2009

    Wah! Your engrand so power!

    Like

    • winnie
      June 14, 2009

      yeah, so power until it took me a minute to figure out what ‘engrand’ was! took me very rong.

      Like

  6. slugabed
    June 15, 2009

    that pic that went with “vacuous” so fits the word! I wonder what pic goes well with “slugabed”? Hmmm…I wonder.

    Like

    • winnie
      June 16, 2009

      I tried looking for a pic of you slithering about in bed but couldn’t find one. I was in the process of photoshopping your head onto the body of a slug when I realised it would be too much work and stopped. And that’s why there’s no pic for slugabed. :-(

      Like

  7. Sylvea
    June 16, 2009

    i like this! so farnee!! and very ermm… enlightening

    Like

    • winnie
      June 16, 2009

      Thanks Syl :-) Now, go and enlighten the poor saps around you, my child …

      Like

  8. jadetoh
    June 17, 2009

    i just can’t resist typing this…i’m actually encouraging my kid to use big words when she gets bullied in school. something i learnt frm u long time ago..:) remember those days when we used ‘ithig’ language? that was so cool…stupid boys couldn’t understand a word! haha!
    ps. i feel exactly the same way about my partner’s slugabed habits….makes me either give up or itching to bitch slap him!!

    Like

    • Winnie Yong
      June 17, 2009

      Ithigi rithigemithigembithiger!!! In fact, i can still speak it very fast – me and my brother used to speak it long time ago to fool the parents. it was so funny! speaking of slugabeds, you’re living proof that a morning person + a night person can co-exist in harmony. gives me hope somehow … :-)

      Like

      • WL
        November 9, 2010

        Jade? Toh Shia Jade? OMG. Can’t believe its u. :) Long time. Very impressive blog winnie. First time seeing it. Keep up the good work!!!

        Like

  9. Alvin Rodney
    June 20, 2009

    Hey Winnie.. how you doing? I read this article of yours – very interesting and thought provoking as usual – a few days back. You don’t always hear these words being used in everyday conversation but just yesterday on Astro they were airing Jurassic Park: The Lost World and there was a scene in the movie where the child actress utters “She’s such a… Read More troglodyte, she doesn’t even have Sega”.. and I was like hey! I know that word. I must have seen that movie many times and that word just passed me by… cheers Winnie

    Like

    • winnie
      June 20, 2009

      Alvin, wow, I’m so happy to have been of service! A troglodyte cos she’s got no Sega – haha, that’s damn funny! Now you have to promise me you’ll use that word to make fun of someone okay? Promise??

      Like

      • Alvin Rodney
        June 20, 2009

        Hey Winnie.. your article is sure hitting its stride now with me… guess which word I saw today? “Claptrap”! yeah i bought this graphic novel yesterday and was reading it this morning and somewhere in the middle, one nasty character snorts and says “Tribal superstitious claptrap”. heh heh… what a coincidence.. or is it? I’ll try and use some of the 15 words next week and let you know what kind of reaction i get..

        Like

      • winnie
        June 20, 2009

        Alvin, this is a sign from god, you know. It’s a sign that you need to continue reading my blog – heh heh

        Like

  10. ankundaciara
    December 31, 2010

    its interesting man n advisable like troglodyte who wt 2 hide him self in e hole jst b’se of dat.

    Like

  11. Pingback: 2010: Top Five Posts | winnie yong

  12. Jiminy
    January 19, 2011

    Love the site…thanks

    Like

  13. Niaamh
    February 22, 2011

    Hey Winnie i love this…its really cool helping me a lot in school especially with English been impressing my teachers like mad..
    Thanks please keep posting new words :D

    Like

  14. BAM awesome
    March 11, 2011

    Loving the feminism…
    Just one question… why? (why the feminism, the words are BAM awesome!)

    Like

    • winnie
      April 3, 2011

      because it’s funny, especially when I’m – in reality – the least feminist character you’ll probably meet :-)

      Like

  15. Amber
    May 9, 2011

    Oooooh I absolutely love your blog!! I think I may be using some of these words more often! The pictures to go with them made me laugh too!!! Brilliant! :)

    Like

  16. Fingus
    November 16, 2011

    I don’t think a “state of moribund” is grammatically correct, but good blog post overall.

    Like

  17. Josiah
    February 1, 2012

    I have an extremely problematic friend that has to be right about everything. Hearing these words is Really going to fluster his megalomaniac brain lol thanks!

    Like

  18. Natalie
    March 9, 2012

    Ennui is from a french word that means the same thing. So, you might say it IS foreign. To you, that is.

    Like

    • winnie
      March 10, 2012

      Everything is foreign to somebody else :-)

      Like

  19. NOLA Man Blog
    April 12, 2012

    Schoolmarmish is a word? Are you serious?

    Like

  20. Luke
    July 12, 2012

    Thanks for posting this helps a lot!

    Like

  21. Voster
    August 20, 2012

    Awesome blog!

    Like

  22. gpeynon
    March 20, 2014

    Brilliant post! I shall keep a few of these in mind for use in the future; although claptrap is already up there in my regular vocabulary.

    A quick point you may find interesting: when John Cleese uses the word ‘gob’ he means mouth. It’s an English slang expression and can also be used in ‘gob stopper’ (a jaw breaker), ‘gob smacked’ (speechless) and ‘gob shite’ (talking s**t).

    Liked by 1 person

    • winnie
      March 21, 2014

      In all honesty, I’ve gone as far as ‘spiel’ and ‘pompous'; maybe ‘vacuous’ a couple of times. Claptrap is a whole other ballgame!
      And them English people sure have the strangest slang words, don’t they? :-D

      Like

      • gpeynon
        March 21, 2014

        We certainly do :)

        Like

      • winnie
        March 21, 2014

        Oh in this case, you English people :-D

        Like

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This entry was posted on June 13, 2009 by in Reading & Writing and tagged , , , , , .
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