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

  1. May 2, 2006 #1

    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 :

    "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:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 2, 2006 #2

    J77

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    Yeah, I find people like that very annerving.
     
  4. May 2, 2006 #3

    Mk

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    Maybe they meant that the convention had varied fortune.
     
  5. May 2, 2006 #4

    Chi Meson

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    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?
     
  6. May 2, 2006 #5

    russ_watters

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    I conquer. :tongue2:
     
  7. May 2, 2006 #6

    Curious3141

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    Nothing of the sort. These conferences are more boring than the weather channel.
     
  8. May 2, 2006 #7

    Mk

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    :rolleyes: :rofl: That was actually pretty funny. Hi-five to the russ man! Whoosh!
     
  9. May 2, 2006 #8

    Mk

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    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.
     
  10. May 2, 2006 #9

    J77

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    :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 :)
     
  11. May 2, 2006 #10
    What's an idiom, Curious?
     
  12. May 2, 2006 #11

    Hurkyl

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    The cromulent use of big words embiggens the smallest man.
     
  13. May 2, 2006 #12

    Curious3141

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  14. May 2, 2006 #13
    i hardly ever hear the word "literally" used properly.
     
  15. May 2, 2006 #14

    Curious3141

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    From Yes, Minister : (He) had his own non-literal use for the word "literally". :rofl:
     
  16. May 2, 2006 #15

    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!
     
  17. May 2, 2006 #16

    Curious3141

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    I think that was a deliberate misuse, keeping with the sprite of the thread. :biggrin:
     
  18. May 2, 2006 #17

    Curious3141

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    :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:
     
  19. May 2, 2006 #18
    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:
     
  20. May 2, 2006 #19
    "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
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2006
  21. May 2, 2006 #20

    Chi Meson

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    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?
     
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