There are countless – although I’m sure someone counted – combinations, mixtures, fusions, and portmanteaus that allow us to forge sentences as we see fit; however, we are ultimately chained to our personal lexicon, our vocabulary rolodex.
I’m a self-fancied word nerd, and I have always been intrigued by words that explain words; that is, those that define grammatical or everyday happenings.
For example, a “catachresis” is the incorrect use of a word, such as in a mixed metaphor.
The hardest part about that word is how to pronounce it.
Then there is it’s cousin – “anacoluthon”, which is a grammatical break in sequence – when someone starts a thought in one sentence, stops themselves, and ends with a different thought.
And a trip to our Latin friends again with “litotes” – an understatement when the affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary. What the hell does that mean?
Rather than stating “that’s smart”, you say “that’s not stupid”. Or, as Harold and Kumar taught us: “We’re so high” – “We’re not low.”
There are plenty of others – “sycophantic” is one of my favorites, which is the kind way to say someone is a brown-noser or ass-kisser – and I openly wish that I could fling these words around, but unfortunately I would then be that guy who is trying to sound intelligent.
Which is what I do on this website, oddly enough.