I had a boyfriend when I was younger who used big words incorrectly. When I say big words, don’t get me wrong; I just mean bigger than four letters. He might be found saying something like, “I’m just being inundated with the weather today”.  I tried to be proud of him for at least making the effort to even know these words, but it brought out the petty child in me that felt the need to correct him whenever it happened. He didn’t like it when I did that. It also made me nervous to be at a dinner party when the conversation turned to anything important. It wouldn’t be surprising to hear him want to discuss how he “feels really tangible about the issues with the war”. I was young and barely held my own in a serious conversation, but I still knew that I couldn’t live like this. I couldn’t let this be the father of my children when they would already be inheriting my questionable intellect. So I stayed with him for two years until he started cheating on me and dumped me for someone else. Showed him.

Anyway, I’m not coming from a superior place here. I’m not known for having an impressive vocabulary. I’ve learned that it’s much more important to use the small words you know correctly, than to try to go outside your comfort zone and throw in an unfamiliar word, hoping no one will notice. It is also much more charming to say to someone, “what does that mean? I don’t know that word”, than to nod in agreement and ask where the bathroom is. Everyone is so busy trying to impress each other and prove how interesting they are, that we’re all just bored. I love to ask someone what a word means. It really knocks them off of their annoying little pedestal.

So, mom sent me an e-mail the other day that made me think of this issue. She’s super smart and uses her words right all the time. If you thought she misused a word in the e-mail and I’m calling her out on it here, you’re wrong and have such low expectations for my character.

Here’s what she sent me, which was one of my favorite forwards of hers and one of the only ones that isn’t focused on which foods are going to give me cancer. If you’re going to misuse a word, at least be creative about it.

The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational once again  invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new  definition.

Here are the winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus: A person who is both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxicaton: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.