Thursday, June 4, 2009

English Lesson

You might have found out by now that the English language does itself no favors. Some (and by some I mean perhaps even a vast majority) words are exactly what their definition claims there are. Others are the exact opposite. Some, by being what they are, often do so to their own detriment. Here's our first prime example:

Pronunciation: \yü-ˈbi-kwə-təs\
Function: adjective
Date: 1830
:existing or being everywhere at the same time : constantly encountered : widespread
Ubiquitous is hardly ubiquitous. You don't find the word running around on fashion designer logos or at your local McDonalds. Ubiquitous keeps to itself and is only rarely dropped in conversation to impress people. Well, I'm unimpressed ubiquitous. You're a waste of syllables (for you Global Warmers out there - ubiquitous leaves a huge syllabic footprint, not unlike the methane footprint left behind by goats).

Then we have another word to show people how smart you are, embarrassing them, and more often than not making you look like a total jerk. Here it is:

Pronunciation: \ˌe-sə-ˈter-ik, -ˈte-rik\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Late Latin esotericus, from Greek esōterikos, from esōterō, comparative of eisō, esō within, from eis into; akin to Greek en in — more at in
Date: circa 1660

1 a: designed for or understood by the specially initiated alone b: requiring or exhibiting knowledge that is restricted to a small group; broadly : difficult to understand
2 a: limited to a small circle b: private, confidential
3: of special, rare, or unusual interest
Esoteric is what it says it is. Very few of the common people (your average everyday English speaker, of which there are almost 600 million worldwide) know what it means. In fact, usually only college educated people, professors, or people who work for Kaplan will know about it. Good job esoteric. You're an elitist, aristocratic, snotty brat of a word. And, because you are, no one is going to use you to describe anything because you wouldn't help, you'd just make the word you were trying to explain more inexplicable.

Oh English. You are so silly. Stay silly.

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