Faux Pas

After I write a blog, I have a tendency to use those words for the next several days. So it was with copacetic. When I used it with one of my employees, he decided to look it up in the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Now, I review what that revered tome has to say about the word that I’m writing about. But, this once, I didn’t. This was the ONLY time! Never before have I not checked that dictionary. Never. It’s my favorite book.

And now, I feel that I’ve made a faux pas. The good ol’ OED (Oxford English Dictionary) gives a slightly different twist to the definition of copacetic. It defines it as ‘fine, excellent, going just right.’

The ‘going just right’ fits in with the ‘okay’ definition that I gave. But the one word that the OED used that puts a twist on my definition is ‘excellent.’

If something is fine or going just right, that seems to be a basic level of quality. But if I say that something is excellent, excellence is a step above something that is just fine or going just right. Quite a big step above!

So, dear Reader, I leave it to you to decide how you use copacetic – whether you use it to refer to something that is fine or going just right or if you use it to refer to something that is excellent.

Now, for today’s words**. The first one is tome. (You’ll notice that I used it earlier in this blog!) A tome (tohm) is a book or a volume that is usually a large, heavy, old-fashioned book. Harlequin romances are definitely NOT tomes . . . The OED is definitely heavy, and some-what old-fashioned (especially the print version!) and can therefore be referred to as a tome.

A special note of interest. Tomecide is a destroyer of books and a tomelet is a small volume. These are bonus words for you!

The second word is faux pas. Back in the 1600s and 1700s, a faux pas (foh pah) was a false step or an act which compromised a person’s reputation. That meaning has changed somewhat over time.

It now refers more to a slip or a blunder in etiquette, manners, or conduct. It’s when you make an embarrassing social blunder. My faux pas was to make a public declaration of a word’s definition without first checking the Oxford English Dictionary. That makes me look foolish in public – and embarrassed to admit my error. Sigh . . .

So, I promise that from henceforth, I will always consult the Oxford English Dictionary before I post to my blog. Promise.


**Today’s definitions have definitely been compared with the OED!

Posted in New Words. Comments Off on Faux Pas
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