Grammar: crazy for words | New

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I am a proud “intellectual word”. I like the words; I collect them like baseball cards. I love quirky words, wacky words, witty words, and even a handful of Welsh words (fun fact: the word for “carrot” in Welsh is “moron”). As a person inclined to collect items, I pile up words like an end of the world preparer hides toilet paper. Is it a disease? Probably. But it’s cheaper than golf.

Do you bow down to the altar of epeolatry? If so, you love the words. I promise you that you are not the only follower of this phonetic hobby. Other words for the word worship are “grammatolatry” and “verbolatry”. Although I am not qualified to give spiritual guidance, your words have the power to give life or take it from someone. Even anonymous or on social media, your words can either make someone’s day or make them miserable.

Verbomania is a “craze for words”. I am not a psychiatrist, nor is Dear Abby, so I cannot prescribe medication or give medical advice. However, if you have an appetite for the tongue, perhaps consider one or two servings of Alphabet Soup. In doing so, you can rightly call yourself a “verbivore”.

You can think of yourself as a “logolept”. If so, you are a word lover – a speaking virtuoso. A magician of words. An advocate of diction. A prose pro. A lexical legend. You got the idea.

On the other hand, you might know someone who is afraid of words. I doubt you went this far in my column when you suffered from “logophobia” – the fear of words. Many people are afraid to speak in public or have a complete aversion to speaking.

Did you know that there is even a word for people who are afraid of long words? This is called “hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia”. Weighing fifteen syllables, this word is an ironic word that means the same thing as “sesquipedalophobia”.

As someone who is often paid per word, I have no problem extending prose to ridiculous degrees. The words we use are important and we must make them count. It’s no wonder people are being kicked off Twitter for the equivalent of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. Just as the clothes we choose to wear on our bodies can express who we are, the words we let out of our mouths and keyboards shape the way people see us.

While life can often feel like an unbroken chwyrligwgan (Welsh for ‘merry-go-round’), our words give us the opportunity to turn it into something great or horrible. It’s yours.

—Curtis Honeycutt is a syndicated humorous columnist. He is the author of Good Grammar is the Life of the Party: Tips for a Wildly Successful Life. To learn more, visit curtishoneycutt.com.


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