Deep Thoughts: Syllable Syllabus

something a little lighter for a change...

as a big fan of words, a huge fan, i've often wondered about supposed 'big words'. those polysyllablic tongue-twisting, brain-deflating gems, like, versimilitude or pulchritudinous. those are genuine 'big words', usually reserved for use only by people feigning intellect. i mean, to me, to actually use one of those words would sound very contrived. no one ever uses them. and for good reason. cause most people wouldn't know what they mean.

but it's strange because there are in fact big words that everyone knows and small words that very few people do.

gubernatorial, that's a whopping six syllables there. but i'll bet most people know its meaning. or environmentally. another six syllaber. yet, try and find someone who isn't at least vaguely aware of its connotations.

while a word like onus, a mere two tiny syllables is kinda rare to hear.

i was watching 'beauty and the geek' (a social experminent, not a reality show by the way) and one of the geeks used the word onus.

since i watch tv using closed captions i was a might confused. i thought at first he'd said on us. but wasn't sure. so i look it up and find it means burden. go figure. a new word for me. yay.

or once i was watching frasier and he used the word jejune to describe a woman. i was like, wow, what a cool sounding word, wonder what it means. i look it up to find it simply means dull. what a pretty way to call someone boring and vapid.

or gelid. no one ever uses that word either. again, just two short syllables. i mean i use it, cuz i just like the word. but i had to learn it from a really smart, genius type person before i'd ever heard of it.

so there are little big words. and also big little words. incidentally, both are descendents of that famous native american indian chief dances with dictionaries.

my conclusion on this matter... it's not the size of the word that matters, but rather how you use it.


  1. I enjoyed this very much.. thank you for sharing your lighter side.


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