Pusillanimous

IMG_0054Today’s Daily Post writing prompt asks us to write about a time we used a word incorrectly. Well, I may not have done this much in real life, but I’ve done it in my dreams.

If you are a reader, you know I write a lot about dreams – anxiety dreams, dreams about my kids, dreams about a destination I never reach. I dream so much that sometimes I don’t even know whether I am awake or asleep.

And once, I dreamed all night long about the word pusillanimous, a word that does not sound at all like its meaning. Which I didn’t know until I looked it up in the morning.

In my dreams, I was using the word, others used the word – it had suddenly become the most common word on the face of the earth. And when I used it, I experienced the vaguely uncomfortable feeling one has when they use a word of whose meaning they are not quite certain.

By the way, it means, more or less, timid. I was really hoping for something more spectacular than that.

This episode is memorable for another reason. When I relayed it to a couple of close colleagues, I learned that pusillanimous fell into a category they called “Sarah Day words.” It seems said colleagues had coined this term to describe the not-so-widely known words I used in meetings that they had to look up afterwards in order to understand what I was trying to convey.

Huh. Well, I guess we all have to be known for something. Might as well be for others’ amusement around the water cooler.

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9 thoughts on “Pusillanimous

  1. Hey, wow! I’m glad to know that I am not the only person who suffers from a functional vocabulary. A week doesn’t go by without someone making a crack about it. I have also had people tell me that I should not be using big (??) words in any kind of formal writing. What was that again? I finally gave my answer to such thinking earlier this year (http://parnassusanalytics.com/2014/02/17/dumb-down-steve/). In essence, you will find that I chose not to be pusillanimous in my response.

    Welcome to the club!

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