Tuesday, March 14, 2006

SAY THAT AGAIN?

Or, words that sound naughty but really aren’t…

By Ovid Publius Hadweenzic, Ph.D. (a Pontificatingly happy Dork), whose vocation consists of sitting on a velvet cushion (provided by the University of the Addleheaded & Absurd) and expounding upon all manner of miscellaneous material, including words that sound lewd or lusty but are perfectly innocuous if one only knew the meaning.

A casual glance through a dictionary is to some a chore, while to others, it is a source of good cheer not to mention several chortles in what might have otherwise been a very boring day.

Those who have a passion for peachy keen words as I do will appreciate the buffet of buffoonery that exists between the pages of the Concise Oxford, Funk & Wagnalls, or Merriam Webster’s version of all things English.

Here is a saucy sample of words that may inspire a second look:

blowsabella (n.) no, it is not one of those transparent tight t-shirts or see-through blouses worn by happy hippies and flower children but rather a rare expression meaning a red-faced wench or a female whose hair is disheveled (before hair-spray had been invented)

chirogymnast (n.) ahem…it’s not a breath-taking boudoir bouncer, it is a mechanical contraption used to exercise a pianist’s fingers…which is probably the origin of a quaint yet quintessential definition of a piano player …“one who enjoys tinckling the ivories” (hmmm...maybe it's 'tickling' them?)

doatee (v.) much as the word might mean a devoted admirer or a swooning sweetheart, it is an old English verb meaning to node the head when asleep whilst one is sitting up possibly in a church, but today more likely it is in front of the TV (a.k.a. boob tube)

lixiviate (v.) no it has nothing to do with receiving a tiny taste of something called "titillating tongue-lashings", but involves a most intricate series of scientific steps involving the extraction of a soluble constituent from a solid mixture by washing or percolation, (now doesn't that warm the cockles of your heart today?)

nude contract (n.pl.) no this is not an contract stipulating the terms and conditions of a clothing-optional T.V. weather forecaster, but rather an ancient English legal expression meaning “without consideration, “where no action can arise”

nugatory (adj.) this is not a pit stop for naughty-navel gazers on their way to purgatory; rather, it is an eight-letter word meaning trifling, inconsequential or inoperative, (a word that comes in hand when describing a small snafu like why a machine went caput and how the operating manual went missing along with fine fellow who knows how to fix it in a jiffy)

peelo (n.) some suggest the word is an ancient Anglo Saxon term meaning “effluent”; Finnish folk say it means a “net cretin” or “telecommunications dweeb”, while the Irish have claimed that it as a slang expression meaning “glum” or “morose-looking”

peeper (n.) it might be easy to jump to the conclusion that a peeper is nothing but a venturous voyeur with a pair of opera glasses, in point of fact, it is a variety of tailless amphibians (such as a tree frog or spring peeper) known to make shrill riveting sounds causing insomnia among the late-night caper crowd or tryst-minded tea-for-two types

peever (n.) not to be confused with a pesky peek-a-boo player on a losing streak, this six-letter word means a stone used in a popular children’s game known as ‘hopscotch’

peewit (n.) while some may believe this word is a slang expression meaning an ill-behaved or incontinent nitwit, it is actually a bird…from the lapwing (not lap-dancing) family

sexagenarian (n.) – no it’s not a euphemism for Don Juan, Casanova or Matahari, nor is it a chronologically-gifted gentleman who has a penchant for pinching posteriors…rather, it refers to a member of the human race in the sixth decade of life on a planet called “Earth”

tantrels (n.) while it might be nice to think that this term has something to do with young ladies sunning themselves on a beach somewhere with utter abandon, this antiquarian word means idle people with no fixed address or full-time job with good fringe benefits

underhung (adj.) it has nothing do with the position of one’s private parts in a pair of spandex shorts during a particularly awkward movement of an exhausting yoga routine; it is an old English term meaning a person whose lower jaw projects more than is customary

Stay tune for more miscellaneous mirth from the pages of your favorite dictionary.

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