Whatever we call it, it’s almost here—you know, that time when we change our clocks in a way that’s us NOT snoozing our alarms. Apparently, there’s been some debate over how this phenomenon is spelled. So, take a moment to honestly evaluate whether you spell it Daylight Saving Time or Daylight Savings Time… and whether or not you’re right.
Life is full of embarrassing moments, and language is no exception. Maybe yours was the moment you realized ‘irregardless’ isn’t a word—and hornswaggle somehow is (it means to deceive or trick). Chances are, nobody’s called you out on your spelling of Daylight Saving(s) Time, but that’s possibly because they also don’t know which is correct.
Image Via Date and time
Before you find out the answer, really consider whether or not you say it Daylight Saving Time or Daylight Savings Time. Say it aloud to yourself so that, when the answer comes, there will be no denying whether you’re right or wrong.
Sounds fake, right? Well, we’re not trying to hornswaggle you. Don’t worry—even if you’re wrong, you’re in good company: just today, CNN analyzed the breakdown of Team Saving vs. Team Savings based on Google results for each term. Just to rub in that literally millions of us are wrong, the results show that Team Saving has a substantial seven-million person lead.
Image Via Cnn
It turns out, the misnomer likely originated from the prevalence of similar phrases, such as ‘savings account’ or ‘life’s savings.’ But even if there are various possible reasons for your mistake, there’s only one possible conclusion: you’re wrong*. Sorry!
Since 1976, Lake Superior State University has released an annual list of the year’s ‘Banished Words,’ an idea that came into being at a probably boozy New Years’ party for LSSU faculty and staff. (We all know what happens when intellectuals party together: sometimes they tell too many ghost stories and then Frankenstein happens. This is another such work of genius.) Though the list was initially centered around personal preferences and pet peeves—which is arguably the basis for most official rankings anyway—it quickly became clear that there were a LOT of words pissing people off. The tradition has continued ever since, with feedback coming from around the world. Before you decide which words to yeet from your lexicon in the year 2019, let’s take a look at what the people think:
Image Via Reddit
Wheelhouse, as in ‘area of expertise.’ And honestly, what the hell is a wheelhouse? Is it a place where you store your wheels? Follow up question—how many wheels do you have? Is it some horrible mill where children are forced into Dickensian tragedy? The fact is, nobody knows what wheelhouse means. If you want to say you’re not an expert at math, just use the word expert.
In the books, as in finished, concluded. If this year’s holiday parties are in the books, which books would those be? The Facebooks? The phrase refers to the nature of books—solid and unchangeable, stories immortalized in print exactly as they are. This isn’t exactly the rise of technology and the Internet; it has really already risen.
Wrap my head around, as in comprehend. The only thing you can wrap your head around is a telephone pole or whatever your car has just crashed into—which will kill you. It just doesn’t make any sense.
Image Via Dribble
Platform, as in place to speak, audience. Michael from California explains the logic behind his selected submission: “people use it as an excuse to rant. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter have become platforms. Even athletes call a post-game interview a ‘platform.’ Step down from the platform, already.”
Collusion, as in multiple people engaging in deception. News outlets have colluded with other news outlets to use this word as often as possible, and, while it’s not the most frustrating word on the list, is distinctly less amusing than ‘scheming.’ Regardless of whether or not anyone actually rubs their hands together and laughs maniacally while scheming, it’s much easier to imagine it.
Image Via Flowjournal
POTUS, FLOTUS, SCOTUS, as in the acronyms for ‘___ of the United States.’ Why? Probably because it sounds so dumb.
Ghosting, as in cutting off contact suddenly. Carrie from Michigan explains: “somebody doesn’t want to talk with you. Get over it. No need to bring the paranormal into the equation.” And maybe let’s just call it what is it. It’s not really ghosting. Ir’s more being a complete asshole.
Image Via NST
Yeet, as in violently throwing. Emily from Michigan explains: “if I hear one more freshman say “yeet,” I might just yeet myself out a window.” If she really wanted to make a point, she might have used the word defenestrate, a far superior term for hurling oneself (or anything) from a window.
Image Via Her Infinity
Litigate, as in bring a matter to court. Richard from Canada feels strongly that this word should only be used for legal matters, rather than what he believes is an overuse referring to any public controversy. Perhaps you feel more strongly that it’s way more upsetting that the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year was almost incel. Not a great sign of the times.
Grapple, as in physically tussle with. It’s also a wrestling move. People who have a hard time accepting that women deserve rights can now grapple with it, as one might grapple with a swarm of bees around one’s head. In the words of Elle Woods, ‘what, like, it’s hard?’
Gif Via Giphy
Eschew, as in ‘renounce.’ Mary from Canada says: “nobody ever actually says this word out loud, they just write it for filler.” Mary also just used a comma splice (the separation of two independent clauses with a comma rather than a conjunction or semicolon), and so I don’t trust her opinions on language.
Crusty, as in crumbly, crisp. This is the kind of word that might be used to describe a flaky pastry but is most often used to describe morning eye goo. Let’s stop saying this word just because it’s gross.
Optics, as in the way something appears to the public. Bob from Arizona believes this is little more than “the trendy way to say ‘appearance.'” If you don’t believe the words are interchangeable, try to see it from Bob’s perspective. Drop this banger of a pickup line: hey, babe, 10/10 optics.
Legally drunk, as in still legally able to operate a car after drinking. The obvious problem is that there’s no such thing. You’re either sober and below the limit, or you’re drunk and above it. The closest you can be to legally drunk is very slightly tipsy, which is just not the same thing as being in the terminal cry-about-everything, eat-sus-street-nachos stages of drunkenness.
Image Via California Drunk Driving
Thought Leader, as in a figure with influential opinions. Might as well call this one ‘cult leader.’ Matt from Colorado puts it best: “if you follow a thought leader, you’re not much of a thinker.”
Most important election of our time, as in a term that’s likely been used for every election ever held. In all fairness, many of us would agree that this phrase has often been accurate—since time, you know, passes. The new iPhone is probably the fastest iPhone of our time, but that doesn’t mean they won’t slow it down when the next one comes out.
Which ones of these words do you think belong on on LSSU’s list? And which words would you put on a list of your own? (Example: let’s all stop spilling the tea… because tea is delicious, and we could spill skim milk instead.)
Twitter is good for many things: telling people your opinions, arguing with others about their opinions, complaining, commenting… the list goes on. But one of my favorite things about Twitter is that occasionally, people post nice things. Check out ten of the funniest, cutest, most beautiful ‘word of the day’ tweets!
A reminder today of the beautiful, rare word ‘respair’: fresh hope and a recovery from despair.
Word of the day: “auraculous” – of or concerning the wonder occasioned by sound rather than by sight; ear-marvellous.
(Word coined by @casparhenderson in A New Map of Wonders).
Image is of the extraordinary WWI “Sound Mirrors” at Romney Marsh in Kent, by Tom Lee/Flickr. pic.twitter.com/a4RE9c0OMO
Word(s) of the day – camera obscura: literally, a ‘dark chamber’ in which an image of the outside world is projected. In more recent usage the Camera Obscura Brexita is an ‘unenlightened ideology’ which obscures its need for border cameras because they’re politically difficult pic.twitter.com/QamP2CJQXK
Word of the day: JAWN — a unique Philadelphian all-purpose noun that can mean anything: a thing, a type of things, a place, a quality, a concept, an event, a situation, a person. For example: ‘This jawn needs more jawn’.
The book that I currently find myself bringing everywhere I go with me is David Foster Wallace’s The Broom of the System. David Foster Wallace is the man who penned the modern-day epic Infinite Jest, and also the man who left this world far too soon in 2008. He was a genius in so many different regards, for example, he used his extensive mathematics skills to become an outstanding tennis player (calculating wind speed, angling of his swings, etc) that we can assume his legacy will continue to live on for many years.
The Broom of the System has a plot and a storyline, but it’s David Foster Wallace’s ability to turn the idea of what literature is and can be on its head that truly allows his work to stay relevant. His novels showcase a sort of experimental game with language, and his gift for words is truly something to be marveled at. Whenever I’m reading a story and I don’t recognize a word, I’ve always been in the habit of putting the book down so that I can do some research on the vocabulary. With David Foster Wallace, I find myself doing this at every turn, and I wanted to share a few of the words I only just recently discovered.
1. Antimony (noun)
The chemical element of atomic number 51, a brittle silvery-white metalloid.
Image Via Photographic Periodic Table
2. Querulous (adjective)
Complaining in a petulant or whining manner.
Image Via ThingLink
3. Prehensile (adjective)
(chiefly of an animal’s limb or tail) Capable of grasping.
Image Via Recess Anytime
4. Nascent (adjective)
(especially of a process or organization) Just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential.
Image Via Flickr
5. Palanquin (noun)
(in India and the East) A covered litter for one passenger, consisting of a large box carried on two horizontal poles by four or six bearers.
Image Via YourDictionary
I truly look forward to continuing and finishing this novel so that my arsenal of vocabulary can be made that much more well-equipped!
Wouldn’t it be great if we all had the time to read through the entire dictionary? Okay, maybe not for all of us, but there are so many words in the English language that we don’t know about because they’re not used often. We went on a hunt to find some of the most interesting words that aren’t used in everyday speech, but should be!
1. Darkle (v.) – to become clouded or gloomy.
The sky darkled and started to rain making it the perfect day to stay home and read.
2. Interfenestration (n.) – the space between two windows.
I hung up a beautiful portrait of J.K. Rowling on the interfenestration in my apartment.
3. Scintillate (v.) – emitting sparks, or quick flashes that look like sparks.
The new Marlon James book seemed to scintillate on the table, catching my eye.
4. Sparsile (n.) – a star not belonging to any constellation.
An example of a sparsile is our Sun.
5. Jentacular (adj.) – pertaining to breakfast.
I love reading something jentacular while having my morning coffee and some pancakes.
6. Tittynope (n.) – a small quantity of something left over.
There was only a tittynope of books left in my “to read” pile.
7. Absquatulate (v.) – to leave somewhere abruptly.
I was feeling overwhelmed at the party, so I absquatulated to run home and read.
8. Blatherskite (n.) – a person who talks at great length without making much sense.
Jim is such a blatherskite, he does not belong in a quiet library.
9. Peely-wally (adj.) – looking pale or unwell.
Poor Katie, she was looking kind of peely-wally after she heard the Fantastic Beasts spoilers.
10. Colporteur (n.) – a person who sells books, newspapers, and similar literature.
My dream is to quit my job on Wall Street and become a colporteur instead.