Why do people insist on using big words they don't know the meaning of ?

Curious3141

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This is a big, big pet peeve of mine. I just got this email inviting me to a BioMechanics conference. Here's a snippet :

This Conference Series has a long and checkered history. We held the first conference in Aachen way back in 1978, and it was hosted by Prof Gunter Rao and the late Prof Helmut Reul. This will be the fifteenth conference in the Series, and we are looking forward to it being an exciting conference.
"Checkered history" ?! Does this guy even know what that idiom means ?:rolleyes:

I'm sure he meant "glorious" or "distinguished", but ended up giving us all the impression that the conference has previously been embroiled in controversy and shady happenings.

See what happens when you try to convince others you're smarter than you are ? You just end up looking like a great, big fool. :rofl:
 

J77

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Yeah, I find people like that very annerving.
 

Mk

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Maybe they meant that the convention had varied fortune.
 

Chi Meson

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Mk said:
Maybe they meant that the convention had varied fortune.
I would have assumed the same. Maybe there are riots at the conference sometimes? Did some nefarious people come to power after launching their notoriety by some charismatic keynote speech?
 

russ_watters

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I conquer. :tongue2:
 

Curious3141

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Chi Meson said:
I would have assumed the same. Maybe there are riots at the conference sometimes? Did some nefarious people come to power after launching their notoriety by some charismatic keynote speech?
Nothing of the sort. These conferences are more boring than the weather channel.
 

Mk

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russ_watters said:
I conquer. :tongue2:
:rolleyes: :rofl: That was actually pretty funny. Hi-five to the russ man! Whoosh!
 

Mk

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Maybe there are riots at the conference sometimes? Did some nefarious people come to power after launching their notoriety by some charismatic keynote speech?
Those biomechanicists are sometimes a bit unruly. They must be trying to immolate the French youngsters angry about the law saying they can't be guaranteed a job for life.
 

J77

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Mk said:
They must be trying to immolate the French youngsters...
:surprised :surprised :surprised :surprised :surprised

immolate

v : offer as a sacrifice by killing or by giving up to destruction; "The Aztecs immolated human victims"; "immolate the valuables at the temple"

:biggrin:

I think you may mean emulate :)
 
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What's an idiom, Curious?
 

Hurkyl

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The cromulent use of big words embiggens the smallest man.
 
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i hardly ever hear the word "literally" used properly.
 

Curious3141

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fourier jr said:
i hardly ever hear the word "literally" used properly.
From Yes, Minister : (He) had his own non-literal use for the word "literally". :rofl:
 

turbo

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A man I once worked for always used the biggest words he could. His air of self-importance had people snickering behind his back because he used some of these big words inappropriately every time he used them. For example, he was in love with the word "subsequently" and used it many times a day. The problem was that every time he used it, he was trying to show causality, and should have used the word "consequently", "therefore" or perhaps the mundane "because". He also routinely used the word "incredulous" instead of "incredible" when describing the antiques we sold, apparently unaware that "incredulous" would more appropriately apply to the frame of mind of the people listening to his blather. He also never could bring himself to say "front" when describing the front side of a dresser or other piece of furniture - he always said "frontis". I would choke up trying not to laugh when he would describe a piece of furniture with phrases like: "The frontis is elaborated with incredulous columes..." (I misspelled columns intentionally to show how he pronounces the word.) :yuck:

Mrs. Malaprop had nothing on this guy!
 

Curious3141

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J77 said:
I think you may mean emulate :)
I think that was a deliberate misuse, keeping with the sprite of the thread. :biggrin:
 

Curious3141

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turbo-1 said:
A man I once worked for always used the biggest words he could. His air of self-importance had people snickering behind his back because he used some of these big words inappropriately every time he used them. For example, he was in love with the word "subsequently" and used it many times a day. The problem was that every time he used it, he was trying to show causality, and should have used the word "consequently", "therefore" or perhaps the mundane "because". He also routinely used the word "incredulous" instead of "incredible" when describing the antiques we sold, apparently unaware that "incredulous" would more appropriately apply to the frame of mind of the people listening to his blather. He also never could bring himself to say "front" when describing the front side of a dresser or other piece of furniture - he always said "frontis". I would choke up trying not to laugh when he would describe a piece of furniture with phrases like: "The frontis is elaborated with incredulous columes..." (I misspelled columns intentionally to show how he pronounces the word.) :yuck:

Mrs. Malaprop had nothing on this guy!
:rofl: :rofl:

My dad had a classmate who liked to read the dictionary from cover to cover. He once wrote an essay, this wunderkind, entitled "Scene from a Street". It went something like this :

"As I was perambulating down the macadam, I espied a nomadic tonsorial artist cacophonously flogging his art...Orient is Orient, Occident is Occident, ne'er shall the twain conjoin..."

Translation :

"As I was walking down the road, I spotted a street barber noisily advertising his services...East is East, West is West, never shall the two meet..."

Frightful, wasn't he? :yuck: :rofl:
 
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Curious3141 said:
OK, thanks.

And, yes, I do agree with you totally on this. I don't mind people using big words they actually know the proper meaning of, but when they use words just to show off and look smart, it really does anger me and I LOVE making a fool of them.

One example would be one guy (who continually misuses big words just to look clever) calling another guy 'misanthropic'. There was no evidence for the other guy being anything like misanthropic... so I asked him what it means and he said it means that someone 'just is'. :rolleyes:
 
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"As I was perambulating down the macadam, I espied a nomadic tonsorial artist cacophonously flogging his art...Orient is Orient, Occident is Occident, ne'er shall the twain conjoin..."

That is the superlative quintessentially incomprehensible congregation of locutions I have ever confronted :rofl:

You just know I used the thesaurus for most of them ;D
 
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Chi Meson

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fourier jr said:
i hardly ever hear the word "literally" used properly.
It was during the eighties, a politician actually said:
"These people had to literally pull themselves up by their own bootstraps."

Does anyone know the source?
 

turbo

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Curious3141 said:
:rofl: :rofl:

My dad had a classmate who liked to read the dictionary from cover to cover. He once wrote an essay, this wunderkind, entitled "Scene from a Street". It went something like this :

"As I was perambulating down the macadam, I espied a nomadic tonsorial artist cacophonously flogging his art...Orient is Orient, Occident is Occident, ne'er shall the twain conjoin..."

Translation :

"As I was walking down the road, I spotted a street barber noisily advertising his services...East is East, West is West, never shall the two meet..."

Frightful, wasn't he? :yuck: :rofl:
"perambulating down the macadam" sounds like the kind of thing WC Fields would have written for himself for the character Eggbert Souse in "The Bank Dick" - a ne-er-do-well with a penchant for tall tales (Fields would have said "prevarication") and big words.
 

brewnog

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Why use a big word when a diminutive one will suffice?
 

BobG

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Chi Meson said:
It was during the eighties, a politician actually said:
"These people had to literally pull themselves up by their own bootstraps."

Does anyone know the source?
Whoever it was, hopefully he wasn't talking about John James, Chairman of the Cabazon band of Mission Indians, "Sometimes one has to sell their shoes for hope. I've been there. I've walked barefoot. I'll walk barefoot again, so the tribe and investors don't lose faith in us."
 
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J77 said:
immolate

v : offer as a sacrifice by killing or by giving up to destruction; "The Aztecs immolated human victims"; "immolate the valuables at the temple"
Don't forget the other very often used meaning:

2 : to kill or destroy often by fire
 

robphy

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