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Your vocabulary origins

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by novelist_wannabe, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    I find it interesting what I associate with certain words, and often the associations are memories of where I learned the words.

    For example, the word "euphemism" I learned from George Carlin. He was doing a bit on fussy eaters and he said, "'Fussy eater' is a euphemism for 'biiiiiig pain in the ass'." Didn't know what he meant, so I looked up euphemism, and voila! Vocabulary expanded.

    "Pernicious" I learned from Stephen King. In 'Salem's Lot, he made references to autopsies assigning cause of death to "pernicious anemia," again prompting a trip to the dictionary.

    Both of these were more than 30 years ago, but when I hear or use the word euphemism I always think of Carlin; pernicious, King. Thank you, George and Stephen, for expanding my mind.

    So what about you folks? Are there words you associate with where you first heard/learned them?
  2. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Cuss words - I'm assuming my dad.
  3. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I had a grade-school teacher who always used the word "aforementioned" and that was one I used a lot, both in school and during my career.

    "Belie" was another one that I liked that I used a lot.

    "Proselytize" was another...

    "Schadenfreude" is another great one, but I stopped using it as soon as I found out how surprisingly often other writers used it.

    Very early in my career, a co-worker and I had a running joke about what words we could get past the desk. He would get a little more ambitious than I would and got yelled at about it more than once... To be fair, he was one of those guys who would drop those words into normal conversation without thinking about it, so it wasn't always intentional.
  4. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    Lisa Simpson's impressive vocabulary taught me so many words as a kid.

    Loagy and specious were two favorites I picked up at about age nine or ten from her character.
  5. Chef2

    Chef2 Well-Known Member


    I learned this from Andrew Dice Clay
  6. Dyno

    Dyno Well-Known Member

    When I was 7, my friend up the street, who was a year older than me, told me that "fuck" and "bitch" were curses that meant "I hate God."
  7. HC

    HC Well-Known Member

    Gibbous - from Dean Koontz. Every freaking character went out at night but could see where they were going because there was a 'gibbous moon'.
  8. Spartan Squad

    Spartan Squad Well-Known Member

    When my sister and I were kids, we were watching some movie with pirates in it. There was a scene where the pirates and the good guys were having a fight aboard a ship. One of the pirates got tangled up in some rope and was dangling. My sister shouted "that pirate is hung!" Once my mother stopped laughing and picked herself up off the floor, we learned what calling a guy "hung" really meant.
  9. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    "Throw papa down the stairs his hat."

    Yes, in my hometown, the Amish buggys would stop at the lights downtown on Sunday mornings, and the horses would relieve themselves before continuing on their way.

    "Throw the cow over the fence some hay."
  10. canucklehead

    canucklehead Active Member

    When practice went off the rails my high school basketball coach would always say 'there's too much levity'.

    When one of my teammates was being a pain in the ass he would also tell said player 'you are my nemesis.'
    Think of him when using levity and nemesis.
  11. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    Appalachia mostly.
  12. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    I didn't learn the word from Carlin, but I always associate him with the euphemisms. Nobody skewers weak words or misleading language like he did. I had a friend who was a who desperately wanted to use a video clip of Carlin for a lesson on euphemisms when he was student teaching middle school kids. Searched and searched to find one in which Carlin did not use any foul language. Finally found his bit on the transition from "shell shock" to "post-traumatic stress disorder" with no cursing at all.

    He told his cooperating teacher about it. She pointed out that some parent would hear that they used Carlin, think of his reputation and go nuts, whether the actual bit used profanity or not. Wouldn't let him use it. Such a shame. That is a lesson that would have stuck.

    I don't know why this one stuck with me, but I remember learning the word wounded while watching monster movies one Sunday morning when I was a little kid. One of the good guy monsters was this flying turtle. No idea what it was called. But it lost a fight and I thought it was dead. I remember my mother explaining to me that it was only wounded.
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