Nascent vocabularies

13 August, 2009

day lilly

Do you ever have to look up the meaning of a word more than once?
Me too. I’m reading “The Leviathan and the Air Pump” by Shapin and Shaffer, which I’m proud to say is almost enjoyable if every other distraction is removed, or should I write, is jettisoned. On each page there is probably one or two words I’ve seen and looked up before, but can never remember. As usual I’m favoring Merriam-Webster’s definitions:

Nascent– adj. Coming or having just come into existence

No matter how many times I look up the word ‘nascent’ I seem unable to remember it’s meaning. Each time I read the definition, therefore, there is a nascent understanding.
Now, however, having forced myself to use the word in a sentence I can stop saying “God you’re fucking dumb. Go to school and sink yourself in debt like the rest of us”, I can say
“I’m sure your stupidity will diminish with your hopefully nascent education”.

Jejune– adj.
1. lacking nutritive value, 2. lacking substance or interest, 3. juvenile or immature

Instead of diplomatically writing “this article, while good, could use a little in the area of application, that is, while there is definite merit in the scholarship, it should be made more readily apparent to the reader” I can, more succinctly write

“This is a very interesting argument, yet it still needs a great deal of work lest it be received as quotidian and jejune.”

Putative– adj.
1. commonly accepted or supposed, 2. assumed to exist or have existed

While listening to the supposedly educated present opinion as wisdom I can whisper to myself of their putative and yet remarkably absent common sense, instead of dramatically sighing at their inability to keep their ignorant little mouths as shut as their minds.

Jettisoned– transitive verb
1. to make jettison, 2. to get rid of as superfluous or encumbering: to omit or forgo as part of the plan, 3. to drop from an aircraft while in flight

Instead of telling Amelia to STOP THAT SCRATCHING NOW I can tell her if she doesn’t stop chewing on herself she will be jettisoned and left with my sister for the week while I escape to a tiny, dingy apartment in Atlanta where I can maybe get some work done.


6 Responses to “Nascent vocabularies”

  1. Pare Says:

    I make a little mark in my dictionary next to every word I look up – I’ve been doing this since middle school.

    It embarasses me how many words have literally seven, eight little marks. I would tell you what words they are but I can’t remember…

  2. Matt Says:

    Jettison. Do you know its counterpart? Flotsam? Flotsam is when material is unintentionally left behind or made rid of, like from a shipwreck. You can jettison and make flotsam items from the same location, pending tragedy of course.

  3. jackie Says:

    meanings and spellings. i’m embarrassed to admit how often i look up the spellings of words. it just doesn’t look right when you have a big vocabulary, but rudimentary spelling skills.

  4. smoothpebble Says:

    Because I spend way too effing much time on the computer I came across this:
    I think you will enjoy it!

  5. Calamity Says:

    You asked for it: you’ve been reviewed.

  6. Jacob Says:

    Having taken Spanish in high school and college, my first instinct with putative is that it’s an adjective meaning having to do with whores.

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