MY FRIEND KERI spent her senior year in our guest bedroom. Her parents moved out of state the week before school started, but Keri wanted to spend her last year of high school with her friends. So we took her in.
Keri and I both had the beloved Mr. Bolton for English, and we dutifully studied our S.A.T. vocabulary words together each week. We had fun competing, seeing how many vocab words we could use in one sentence at any time throughout the day. But the real challenge came when we decided it would be illegal to stop mid-sentence to breathe.
“Your bellicose canine trounced my corpulent feline and raised a heinous contusion upon her umbilicus, you cadaverous cad!” (Pant, pant.)
Translation: Your junkyard dog thrashed my fat cat and bruised her belly button, you jerk!
“Don’t harangue me, you reprehensible sluggard, for I denounce your blatant ruse as pure, unadulterated twaddle.” (Huff, huff.)
Translation: Be quiet, you lame brain. I’m on to you.
How we loved to feel the words roll off our tongues and burst into the air like popcorn. Kerpow! But soon we needed a new challenge, so we decided to liven things up a bit. That’s when we added extra points for alliteration.
“That portly proletariat prattled on pathetically while perambulating placidly with his priggish progeny.” (Gulp, gulp.)
Translation: That fat dude talked nonstop while he walked with his uppity kid.
“I disavow that defamatory diatribe which you disseminated to my detriment, and I demand that you desist, you dastardly derelict!” (Breathe, breathe.)
Translation: I’m innocent. Shut up, loser!
Well, Christmas came and went and so did the S.A.T. test. Keri was accepted to Seattle Pacific and I was accepted to UCLA – where they had the best Theater department on the west coast. Vocabulary ventures took a back seat to planning for graduation, searching for jobs to pay for prom dresses, and daydreaming about voyaging out, into the world on our own.
Except for our favorite words, that is. We just had to keep them alive.
Oh, how we adored this word: pusillanimous (pew sih LAN ih muss). Isn’t it glorious? For those of you in the dark, it basically means “wimpy.” Only it’s better than wimpy because it sounds wimpy. Say it high, say it low. Hold your nose and whine it. Sing it, whisper it, shout it from the rooftops. You can never go wrong with such a great and glorious word as pusillanimous. I use it often and when I do, I wallow in it. (Oink, oink.)
Well, I must admit – supercilious is a pretty awesome word, too (super SILLY us). Yes, that’s really how you say it. Isn’t it wonderful? I am aware that many of my readers are already well acquainted with the definition of supercilious. (It’s so fun to say!) But for those of you who don’t know? Hey, just look it up in your Funk and Wagnalls! 🙂