Vocabulary

by Shai Nir

My eleventh grade English teacher once gave us some fatherly advice. He sat us all down on his lap and said to us, “Class, always remember that the most valuable skill in life is to have a wide vocabulary.” Then he molested us with a Virginia Woolf novel.1 Nevertheless, his words struck a chime of truth in my mind, which is why instead of going to college I decided to memorize the dictionary for four years. However, thanks to the realization that the most important skill need not be the only skill one knows2, I am here and able to relate to you the importance of a rich vocabulary, both with esoteric and common terms.3 What follows, therefore, is a compendiary enumeration of utile steers pertaining to lexical designations: 4

  • The slabs covering the tops of houses are called shingles, not roofies. Do not attempt to put them in anyone’s drink.
  • The term for an Equus caballus who offers sex in exchange for money is not whorse, but horstitute, or the more politically correct mare of the night.
  • You are more likely to survive being hung than being hanged, though blue balls is considered a cruel and unusual execution method.
  • A gentle, comforting barkeeper is a bartender.
  • If your roommate is using your bed to harbor illegal aliens from south of the border, you have been Mexiled, unless they are aliens that he shot himself5, in which case you may have been Texiled.
  • The term homophobe can be insulting to those who are uncomfortable around the homosexual persuasion. A more polite term is fructose intolerant.
  • No means no.6
  • If a ton of people went to see the concert, that means around fifteen to twenty adults were in the audience. A ton of rhinos comes out to maybe a third of an individual.
  • If your gynecologist is taking a long time describing your under parts, you may be receiving a clitique.7
  • An unusually good bartender is a barkeeper.
  • Versimilitude is a long word that you will never use so it doesn’t matter what it means.
  • A magnet school will not teach your child to attract metal with their mind no matter how many letters you send to the school board.
  • Shotglasses will not let you fire bullets from your eyes.8

  • 1 The rape was metaphorical; the shame and self-loathing were not.
    2 A realization that came around the early Bs
    3 Note to new readers: SEE THE CAT. THE CAT HAS A BALL. THE CAT LIKES THE BALL.
    4 Rather than a laconic account of propitious exhortations exemplifying glossarial expressions.
    5 If he shot himself that’s a whole other problem.
    6 Kyle.
    7 If your genitals are particularly impressive, you may stand to win a Hymen Trophy.
    8 But they help.

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