Asperity — What the World Does NOT Need!

My husband and I went for a little trip this past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  I didn’t have an Internet connection so I was unable to post something on Friday.  I was rather lugubrious at times because I was expecting an e-mail message and didn’t have a way to get it!  (I’m STILL waiting for that e-mail to come!!)

Lugubrious (loo-goo-bree-uhs) is an adjective that means dismal, mournful, gloomy, sorrowful.  I was gloomy.  I was mournful.  I was sad.

A song could be lugubrious – if it’s a sad song – you know the kind where you love someone but they love someone else.  Or your loved one dies a tragic death. Or in country and western songs, their dog dies or something happens to their pick-up.

Some people have a lugubrious countenance all the time.  They are gloomy and sad.  Nothing seems to go right for them and life sure is terribly hard.  After Hurricane Katrina, many people’s homes were flooded and the prospects for fixing up their home were lugubrious (dismal).

The next word for today is asperity. Asperity (uh-sper-i-tee) is a noun that means something rough or harsh. Asperity could refer to the tone of a person’s voice, to their temper, or to their manner.  Sometimes when person stops to buy milk on his way home from work and the clerk is slow to wait on him, the person speaks to the clerk with asperity – harshness or sharpness.  Or maybe it’s the other way around.  The clerk speaks to a customer with asperity and treats the customer severely and with harshness.

My image of a sergeant in the army is a person who speaks with asperity to his platoon and treats them with asperity – harsh, severe, sharp, mean.

Sometimes frazzled parents speak to their children with asperity.  Sometimes mean bosses treat their employees with asperity.  Sometimes policemen treat criminals with asperity.  Rough.  Harsh.

Makes me think of an old song ‘what the world needs now, is love, sweet love . . . “  Love – not asperity!

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Capacious Spaces

It is graduation time at the university where I work. One of challenges surrounding graduation is to find places big enough to hold the graduates and their families. For these types of occasions, they need capacious spaces!

Capacious (kuhpey-shuhs) is an adjective that means capable of holding much. Spacious or roomy. The center where we hold basketball games is capacious enough for these large crowds. Thank goodness! And to go right along with the capacious building, there is a capacious parking lot that is capable of holding many cars. Sad to say the surrounding roads are not capacious so there will be lots of traffic jams before and afterwards.

Our friends’ son is getting married in a couple of weeks. The bride’s family had to find a capacious place to hold the reception. My husband built a capacious shop — big enough to hold LOTS of junk! Some women carry capacious purses — purses that have the capacity to carry a great many things. Our yard is capacious. We’ve had up to 75 people over for parties and have had plenty of room. In fact, we could have probably had 100 people and would have been just fine. Airplanes do not have capacious seating arrangements — at least not in the planes that I’ve flown in. Wait a minute. Maybe they do in first class, but who can afford first class??

Teen-aged boys seem to have a capacious stomach — one that is very capable of holding lots of food. Or at least it seems that way to their mothers! Football stadiums are capacious. Sometimes movie theaters are capacious. So are halls where symphonies, operas, and plays are performed.

The other day, my husband and I drove to a little community not too far from our home. There really weren’t any stores, gas stations, restaurants. It was a place where there were just homes. On the outskirts of this community, there were a couple of very large and capacious homes! And next to the homes, there were capacious barns. There was a sign about fox trotter horses. So, I’m guessing that those folks raised and sold fox trotters.

I hope that our hearts are capacious enough to allow all types of people into them!

WordSmithie 20th Podcast

The 20th podcasting session for WordSmithie is now available.

I want to thank my coworker, Jessica, for bringing one of these words to my attention! If any of my readers or listeners have a word that they would like to share, please feel free to contact me: wordsmithie@gmail.com

Something Good This Way Comes

Today I’m going to share only one word – but two variations of it!  That word is auspicious.

Auspicious (aw-spish-uhs) is an adjective that means promising success, opportune, favorable, and fortunate.  It means that there is a hint, a suggestion, a sign that something good or wonderful is about to happen.

I work at a university.  It is the end of the semester and many students are seeking internships.  If they get one with a good company, it could mean an auspicious beginning to the career of their dreams because many companies hire the folks they get as interns.  Students are elated when they get that ‘dream’ internship.

If an editor of a prestigious magazine accepts a manuscript from a writer, that is an auspicious event for the writer – especially if the writer is just beginning to get established.   That is probably the big break for which the writer is hoping!

If an employer hires an employee and finds out that the employee has additional skills that she was unaware of, that is an auspicious (or fortunate and favorable) hiring for the employer.  (Sometimes it seems that the employee has LESS skills than what the employer thought!)

Now, let’s look at the flip side of this word.  Inauspicious.  One of the meanings of the prefix ‘in’ means ‘not.’  So inauspicious means not auspicious.   Something that is inauspicious is not promising success, not opportune, not favorable, not fortunate.  Instead of having a hint of good things to come, it is a foreboding or omen of bad things to come.

My boss ran the Boston marathon last week.  The weather forecast was definitely inauspicious (not favorable). True to the forecast, it was rainy, windy, and cold.  I guess that  type of condition was a wee bit better than running when it is miserably hot.  But then ANY running of a marathon is miserable!  🙂

At work, our office is doing some remodeling.  The folks who were supposed to set up some cubicles were supposed to be there in the morning.  They didn’t come and didn’t come.  It was an inauspicious beginning (not promising success) for getting the cubicles set up.  By 5:00 p.m., the workers still hadn’t shown up . . .

Sometimes sports teams may have an inauspicious beginning of a season.  They may have unlucky and unfortunate events happen such as players being injured or unexpected losses.  Sometimes the team can rise above the inauspicious beginning and go on to have a winning season.  And sometimes they don’t.

I hope that today marks the beginning of an auspicious week for you – where success and good fortune come your way!

Such Reprehensible Violence!

I was listening to a podcast on my Nano on my drive to work this morning (I absolutely LOVE my Nano!) and the speaker used two great words that I thought I would share with you today.

The first one is excoriate. Excoriate (ik-skohr-ee-yet) is a verb that means express strong disapproval of, strongly censure, or scold with scathing severity. My husband and I recently saw the movie Amazing Grace. Good movie! The movie portrays how William Wilberforce led the fight to end the British slave trade. Many times Wilberforce excoriated (strongly censured and severely scolded) the British Parliament for what was happening in the slave trade and excoriated the Parliament for not doing anything to stop it.

Sometimes mothers excoriate their children when they do something bad. (Poor children!) Sometimes bosses excoriate their employees when the employees do something wrong that costs the company lots of money. (Poor employees!) Sometimes journalists will excoriate what Congress does or the president of the United States. (Poor politicians . . . nah, sometimes they deserve to be excoriated!)

Another word that was used in the podcast was reprehensible. Reprehensible (rep-ri-hen-suh-buhl) goes hand in hand with excoriate. It is an adjective that means deserving severe rebuke, reproof, or censure. Something that is blameworthy. The killing at Virginia Tech earlier this week was a deplorable act of violence. It was reprehensible! What happened to the Africans captured and sold during the slave trade era (regardless of which country was involved) was reprehensible. The recent civil wars in South Africa are reprehensible.

When people inflict reprehensible violence on others, those people deserve to be excoriated!

(My deepest sympathies go out to all of the families of those who were slain at Virginia Tech. And to the students, faculty, friends and acquaintances of those slain — and to all who have been affected by this sad event.)

The Grand Kerfuffle

Yesterday, I saw a poster advertising titled “The Grand Kerfluffle.” I hadn’t seen the word ‘kerfluffle for a LONG time so I thought I would write about it today.

Kerfuffle (ker-fuh-ful) is a noun that means a disturbance, a disorderly outburst or tumult, or a domestic ‘row.’ Yesterday in the news, there was a woman who was trying to smother her daughter because of a disagreement over household chores. She is now in jail booked on charges of attempted murder. THAT definitely was a kerfuffle!

A few days ago one of our neighbors had a broken sprinkler pipe. When another neighbor stopped to chat about the broken pipe, the pipe owner burst out in a violent tirade, verbally abusing the other neighbor and ordering him off the property! That was a kerfuffle — one that was WAY out of proportion. (In fact totally uncalled for since the first neighbor was just being neighborly in trying to help with the broken pipe!)

If children roll around on the floor and tussle and fight, that is a kerfuffle. If a wive gets upset that her husband spends all of his time watching football on TV and they get in an argument about it, that is a kerfuffle. If you do something at work and your boss gets angry at you and you have an argy-bargy (remember that is a heated discussion bordering on an argument?), that is a kerfuffle.

If everybody tried to be a little kinder to others, many kerfuffles could be avoided!

A Technology Afficionado

A technology afficionado. That’s me!! Last night I was describing myself and that word (afficiondao) just popped into my head. And, since it fit, I used it.

An afficionado (uh-fish-yuhnah-doh — that could be spelled with one ‘f’ or two!) is a noun that describes a person who is an ardent devotee, fan, or enthusiast. An enthusiastic admirer or follower. I am very devoted to technology. I’m enthusiastic about technology. I am a great fan of technology. (My friend called me an anomoly*!) I love fast computers. I love snazzy software programs. I adore technology gadgets and widgets. I get giddy with technology glee!

Sometimes people are afficionados for a sports team. Or for wines. Or for photography. Or for body building. Or for mountain biking. A person could be an afficionado about almost anything!! So, if you’re highly interested and devoted to something, you could refer to yourself as being an afficionado. And, hopefully, you have as much fun with your area of interest as I do with mine!

*anomaloy – (uhnomuh-lee) a deviation from the common rule, type, or form. I fit this word, too, since you don’t find many (if any) women — and especially women my age — that are so enthralled with technology . . .