Words are funny.
Have you ever heard a word over and over and just never bothered to look it up? This is a bad habit of mine. And it has forced me to pay some dire consequences. For instance, up until sooner than I care to admit, when someone referenced “euthanasia,” my brain assumed they were talking about a specialized mission team that works with youth in Asia.
I’ll pause here so you can judge me.
In all honesty though, how many of us know what “oxter” refers to? Is it a creature that is half otter, half ox? If I ordered two “quire” of paper from Dunder Mifflin, would they know how much I wanted? What if I told you not to “xertz” your CapriSun?
Words are funny. And since we had a good laugh at my expense earlier, I’m going to take the liberty of introducing you to five of the most obscure words I’ve ever had the misfortune to learn.
Acersecomic — Before the nerds get all hyped up about this one, relax, it has nothing to do with comics. In fact, it is a name for someone who has never cut their hair. Like that Vietnamese guy everybody was talking about a couple years ago, Nguyen Van Chien. The guy didn’t get a haircut for 70 years, and they weighed it in at almost five pounds worth of hair. Look it up if you don’t remember.
Yabby — Just so the animal kingdom is represented in this piece, a yabby is a small freshwater crayfish, supposedly very tender and succulent. I am foreseeing a new installment in the Eric Carle kid’s book series … The Very Gabby Yabby, or something like that. Pam, put that on my list of good ideas.
Kakorrhaphiophoia — This impossible-to-pronounce specimen of the English language means “fear of failure.” I heard someone say once that this is the last word a kid would want to encounter in a spelling bee. Talk about agoraphobia, am I right?
Okapi — While the animal kingdom has already been represented, I can’t resist introducing you to a little-known African critter that has the body of a giraffe, with a much shorter neck, and also zebra stripes. That’s right, zebra stripes. So, it’s a zebraffe, and it is native to the Ituri Forest in central Africa. It is supposedly very timid and elusive, however. Like Bigfoot.
Pauciloquent — This last, beautiful adjective means “uttering as few words as possible.” So, basically, everything I am not.
All this to say, look up words you don’t know. Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Trust me, you don’t want to end up working for Youth in Asia. The health benefits are pathetic.
(Also, for the record, oxter means “armpit.” I dare you to fit any or all of this newfound knowledge into conversation today.)