Three guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Teebore's Favorite Words

During conversations with Dr. Bitz regarding the Lost finale a couple months back, he commented on my apparent affinity for the word "gestalt" (I kept referring to how the Flash Sideways was ultimately revealed to be a purgatorial gestalt). He was right: it's definitely one of my favorite words. Being a writer, an English major and a nerd, I have several. Here's a few more, in no particular order (all definitions courtesy of Merriam-Webster.com)

Gestalt
Noun; a structure, configuration, or pattern of physical, biological, or psychological phenomena so integrated as to constitute a functional unit with properties not derivable by summation of its parts.

I have a special fondness for words from German, thanks largely to my study of the language throughout high school and college. This word in particular has always stuck with me due to its use in describing the state of being entered into when the various Transformers Combiner groups merge into one larger robot (like when the Constructicons form Devastator). 


Zeitgeist
Noun; the general intellectual, moral and cultural climate of an era.

Another great German word (it literally means "time spirit"; I LOVE literal translations of German words!) I probably overuse, especially when discussing elements of pop culture passing into the overall knowledge of society as a whole.

Vernacular
Adjective; a: using a language or dialect native to a region or country rather than a literary, cultured, or foreign language b: of, relating to, or being a nonstandard language or dialect of a place, region, or country c: of, relating to, or being the normal spoken form of a language.

Who says you can't learn anything from comics? I first encountered this word and deduced its meaning when Beast used in X-Men (vol. 2) #3. It's a nifty companion to zeitgeist which focuses on a culture's linguistic elements.


 Plethora
Noun; excess, superfluity; also profusion, abundance. 

It just rolls off the tongue. A fun and elegant way of saying "a lot".


Vertiable
Noun; being in fact the thing named and not false, unreal, or imaginary —often used to stress the aptness of a metaphor.

This is the word I think people mean to use when they incorrectly stick "literally" in front of a metaphor to stress its significance. I find it pairs well with "plethora".

Parenthetical
Noun; a: an amplifying or explanatory word, phrase, or sentence inserted in a passage from which it is usually set off by punctuation b: a remark or passage that departs from the theme of a discourse: digression.

Like plethora, it's fun to say. This one has popped up a lot lately in my writing group's discussions (apparently, we all like to use parentheticals as much as we like to say the word...).

Zenith and Nadir
Noun; 1: the point of the celestial sphere that is directly opposite the nadir and vertically above the observer. 2: culminating point.

Noun; 1: the point of the celestial sphere that is directly opposite the zenith and vertically downward from the observer. 2: the lowest point. 

Why say "high" and "low" when you can say the eminently-more enjoyable "zenith" and "nadir"?

10 comments:

  1. i don't think i've ever heard you say zeitgeist or gestalt.

    Also, is that a shirtless gambit behind beast?

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  2. @Falen: i don't think i've ever heard you say zeitgeist or gestalt.

    I don't speak them too often, but they pop up on the blog quite a bit. The first draft of my post for the Lost finale used "gestalt" about nine times.

    As for zeitgeist, I dunno; maybe you've just missed it. I say "such-and-such has become part of the pop culture zeitgeist" a lot. Or at least, more often than most people...

    Also, is that a shirtless gambit behind beast?

    Yes, yes it is. I didn't crop him out for the benefit of the ladies.

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  3. I hear zeitgeist a lot from someone else but mostly because of the films. Where is sassafras?! I want sassafras and sassparilla!

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  4. haha Sarah! That's exactly what i thought when i saw that Beast pic

    You'd probably like taking japanese- all of their literal translations are fantastic. For example, 'Domo' meaning 'very/very much (like domo arigato = thank you very much) literally means 'In Every Way'
    Combined with 'Sumimasen' = I'm sorry (literally 'in every way, it will never end (the things i do to you)'), you get Domo Sumimasen which means I'm Very Sorry but is literally "In every way it will never end (the things i do to you)"

    Fun times!

    My fave word i use a lot
    Juxtaposition

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  5. @Palindrome: Where is sassafras?!

    I forgot all about sassafras. It should be definitely be on the list.

    @Anne: The Japanese definitely put the Germans to shame when it comes to literal translations.

    My fave word i use a lot
    Juxtaposition


    I like that one, too. Why say "compare" when you can say "juxtapose"?

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  6. Juxtapose sounds like a really bad 80s dance.

    OOOOOH, THIS IS MY JAAAAAAAAAM!! WATCH ME JUXTAPOSE!

    *INSERT FINGER SNAPPING AND HEAD BOBBING WHILE SWAYING SIDE TO SIDE OFF BEAT*

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  7. I love words. One of my favorite words, that I try to work into conversation as often as (rarely) possible is

    Sesquipedalian

    Which means "Given to using long words"

    haha! How much do I love that it's such a long word itself?

    My aunt tells me it's like getting a vocabulary lesson every time she talks to me. :) I love incorporating new words, too. Definitely need to start using zeitgeist and gestalt.

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  8. @SonshineMusic: How much do I love that it's such a long word itself?

    That's an awesome word! I've never heard it before, but I'm definitely working it in now.

    My aunt tells me it's like getting a vocabulary lesson every time she talks to me.

    I get that from some people too. I have a friend who, in high school, who would get irritated when I used big words, like I was trying to show off or make her feel dumb. I think I finally managed to convince her it's not intentional, it's just the way I talk.

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  9. Yay, this is fun! I love the words:

    egregious*
    unconscionable*
    absurd*
    sanctimonious*
    belligerent*
    magnanimous
    reverential

    *I especially like words you can sputter in a fit but still sound like you're holding on to your wits.

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  10. @Joan: I especially like words you can sputter in a fit but still sound like you're holding on to your wits.

    Haha! Agreed. I especially like egregious, sanctimonious and magnanimous from your list.

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