Readers of this column will attest to the fact that I like words.
Heck you might even use the “love” word here. I love playing with words. I love learning about their origins. I love words that are my friends, or at least they seem like friends. I love lengthy words that stretch their syllables to great lengths. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is one super example. I like short words that get the job done in record time. ’Sup and LOL both qualify.
I love oxymorons, which are not people but word combinations that pair contradictory terms in the name of making sense. Jumbo shrimp is a good one. So are deafening silence, even odds, student teacher and freezer burn. Now there’s one that runs both cold and hot. Another that’s pretty ugly is original copy. If it’s a copy, how can it be original?
Some phrases sound the same, but they are completely different words. This is known in literary circles as the oronym. Fork handles and four candles, for instance. I scream and ice cream and that catchy little jingle we all learned in elementary school.
A palindrome is a word or phrase that reads the same backwards as forwards. Can you think of anything more tidy? Borrow or rob? Never odd or even. Step on no pets. Was it a cat I saw? Top spot. Race car. I like palindromes — a lot.
Some words are great just because they are fun.
Take onomatopoeia. Actually, don’t take it; I like it too much to give it away. I could say onomatopoeia all day. Wouldn’t that be great? Bam! Kapow! One of my favorite examples of all time is tintinnabulation (of the bell, bells, bells, bells, bells). Tintinnabulate that, my friends.
Conundrum. It is more fun to say it or spell it? That’s the conundrum.
Cacophony. For most of my life I didn’t have enough discord to use the word, but 2020 has changed that. It may not be cacophony in the noisy sense, but there’s nothing phony about the cacophony of 2020.
Skedaddle. Just. Plain. Fun. The more emphasis you put on the first syllable the better. SKEEE-daddle!
Labyrinth. Pronouncing it feels like a labyrinth — of the mouth. Talk about a tongue tangle.
Peeved. This one almost qualifies as an onomatopoeia, especially if you really rev up the long E, similar to the E in skedaddle.
Discombobulating. No one wants to experience discombobulation, unless it involves apples floating in water. Or is that too much of a stretch?
Ambidextrous. I find it poetic that typing this word requires two hands.
Circadian. It’s like the circle of life but instead of life substitute the word sleep. The circle of sleep. It’s calming in a circular sort of way.
Words: Along with death and taxes, you can count on words to be a part of your life — unless you have taken a vow of silence, but even then words are part of the experience, albeit a silent one.
I have a lifelong love relationship with words, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon. If I’ve missed any of your personal favorites, please let me know. It would be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
And with that I’m sure we all know what time it is. Time for me to skedaddle, better make that SKEEdaddle. LOL.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.