In my most recent “quirky words” post, I had to cut what was quickly becoming an über-long essay down to size.
But here are a few more gems that you may find useful…and one that you should absolutely ignore, forget and generally eschew.
pastorpreneur (noun): An entrepreneur who sets up churches as a business venture. See Fantasyland (2017) p. 268. Also John Jackson’s book PastorPreneur: Pastors and Entrepreneurs Answer the Call (2004) where he defines it as: “A pastoral innovator and creative dreamer who is willing to take great risks in ministry in the hope of great gain for Christ and his kingdom.” Although the term seems to mainly apply to evangelical Christians, Catholics are not immune, as prolific family/religion author Susan Vogt points out in reference to Matthew Kelly. See Kelly’s The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, (2012).
chisme (noun) Sp. <CHIZ-muh> or <CHEEZ-meh> (pronunciation depends on the speaker): gossip, a story worth telling “Chisme! Tell us what happened with that guy last night!” (example from Urban Dictionary). Also a “thingamajig” or widget (colloquial) — something whose name you can’t quite recall.
snipe (a sign) (noun): a “bandit sign” — an illegal commercial sign posted on a utility pole, tree, fence, and other street fixtures; outdoor signs that advertise everything from tax preparation to garage sales and cheap houses.
During political seasons, negative snipes are sometimes posted next to legitimate political signs to specifically counter their message — as in the recent instance where a congressional candidate Debbie Lesko unaccountably called her opponent, an M.D. in good standing, a “fake doctor.” (Lesko agreed to take down the snipes under pressure from the Arizona Medical Political Action Committee which had endorsed her.)
Cognitive auto-correct (noun): Recent research suggests that our brains have an “auto-correct” feature that we use when interpreting ambiguous sounds or phrases. Although the researchers focused on ambiguous sounds (‘p’ vs ‘b’ for example), in my experience with college writing students, it works for the written word as well. Here are two examples:
1.) Therefore believe that all students have the same opportunities in their education.
Therefore I believe that all students should have . . .
2.) The ACT and SAT should not decide a student’s future. What a student has done for four years should be tarnished by two tests.
(can you spot the problem?)
The brain does this is by using the surrounding context to narrow down the possibilities of what the speaker may mean and automatically resolves the situation for the best fit. Thus, when students are proofreading their drafts, they know what it’s supposed to say and their brains make it read that way. In fact, other students peer-reviewing their classmates’ essay drafts, often do the same thing.
And just to show that because a word is old, it doesn’t mean it has any business cluttering up our brains, we present this 1741 gem (resurrected in 2014 by Australian economist Colin Dwyer)
floccinaucinihilipilification (noun) <FLOK-si-NO-si-NY-HIL-i-PIL-i-fi-KAY-shuhn>: Estimating as worthless.