Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Or, why entertaining elfin words should be used more often

By Samantha Tooting-Beck, not-your-average Cosmo girl, but one with an abiding interest in old or odd words that have been banished from common conversation

The letter "e" (5th letter in the English alphabet), is an easy-going yet eloquent symbol for the third tone of a C-major scale in music, a layer of the ionosphere occurring at about 65 miles (110 km) above the earth's surface capable of reflecting shortwave frequencies, and last but not least, a fate worse than death if it appears on an exam paper or essay denoting an abysmal if not unsatisfactory grade.

Our time-starved culture appears to be adopting some rather bizarre behavior these days involving the asphyxiation of the English language. In the name of enhancing efficiency and increasing productivity, our limited fast-food oriented vocabulary is being reduced even further by reliance on abbreviations, acronyms, buzz-words, jargon and slang not to mention a proliferation of "emoticons" as a way to communicate 'feelings' rapidly to others using email, internet relay chat, and instant messaging technoloy.

Connoisseurs of the "slow food movement" will undoubtedly find solace in the novel "slow communication movement". The latter relies heavily upon reviving long-lost words from the English language and giving them a home in everyday conversation and correspondence.

So, in the interests of honoring the letter "e", here are some wonderful words you may wish to include in your repertoire of rivetting repartee, chortling chit-chat and chug-a-lugging.

ear basher n. a quaint phrase meaning an individual who more often than not is referred to in less than flattering terms as an incredibly dreadful boreearwigging vb. egregious eavesdropping (which is a pre-requisite for namedropping during a networking event or occasion)

eating irons n.pl. a culinary-inspired term meaning eating utensils such as knives, forks and spoons (which are utterly useless when it comes to devouring finger foods, veggie dips or BBQ baby-back ribs)

ectomorphic adj. descriptive of a slender svelt soul who graces the Victoria's Secret runway or occupies the sizzling centrefold pages of a men's magazine

edentulous adj. descriptive of toothless types (who tend to mumble their words when chewing the fat or chin-wagging with chatty-Cathy folks)

eellogofusciouhipoppokunurious adj. a rather torqued tongue-twister used to amaze one’s family, friends or cube farm mates, meaning 'very good'

efftsoons adv. soon after (e.g. efftsoons the eelpouts swam down his alimentary canal, he knew his life as a lounge lizard would never be quite the same)

eggies n.pl. borrowed marbles, (which might be great if they belong to an egghead), but may bring bad luck, especially if they're "snake eyes" (belonging to a venomous viper)

embonpoint n. a pleasingly plump person with a playful personality (as opposed to an ordinary ornery obese oaf)

embroglio n.pl. a confusing or bitterly complicated altercation (usually involving melodramatic mayhems, muddy messes, and one too many monotonous monsters)

engastrimyth n. a ventriloquist (which is terrific occupation if one has a knack for putting words in the mouth of others, or wishes to make dummies look simply dazzling in front of an audience comprised of “yes”-inspired yokels)

equilibrist n. an equal-opportunity tightrope walker or sophisticated scapegoat (which is a convenient socially-responsible asset to have on any well-padded corporate payroll)

eudemon n. a good spirit with an environmentally-friendly, consumer-oriented attitude (such as a member of the endangered extraterrestrial and ephemeral universe be it the "Jolly Green Giant", "The Man From Glad" or Cinderella's "Fairy Godmother")

euphobia n. fear of good news (an ailment which is difficult to treat especially if the patient is glued to CNN or Newsworld 24/7, but may be partially mitigated provided the subject switches permanently to the "Shopping Channel" and has a credit card available at all times)

Eve with the lid on n.pl. the first-known comfort food prepared by the Chief Cook and Bottle-Washer in the Garden of Eden from sun-ripened fruit, (more commonly known as "apple pie")

exegetist n. a wanton windbag (who is capable of exposition and explanation ...of practically anything under the sun at the drop of a hat and a dandy guest to have at a deader-than-a-doornail dinner party)

exosculate v. to kiss heartily (which isn't at all challenging if one possesses pucker power, a pleasing if not pulchritudinous partner, and an excuse other than it’s Valentine’s or Mother’s Day)

May you enjoy these eclectic examples of evocative endearments at your leisure.


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