Matthew Baldwin, Perpilocutionist

There are so many fabulous words over at the Glossary of Linguistics and Rhetoric that it’s hard to pick favorites, but here are some of mine:

  • Apophasis: Mentioning something by declaring that it shall not be mentioned. “I need not remind you to get your Christmas shopping done early.”
  • Cacography: Poor handwriting; also, incorrect spelling.
  • Dontopedalogy: An aptitude for putting one’s foot in one’s mouth.
  • Exergasia: Repeating a point by using different figures of speech to give the impression of saying something new.
  • Exonym: A name by which one people or social group refers to another but which is not used by said group to refer to themselves.
  • Fis phenomenon: The phenomenon where children reject well-meaning adult attempts to mispronounce a word in the same way as a child. Child: “Fis.” / Adult: “Yes, it’s a ‘fis’.” / Child: “No, ‘fis’!” / Adult: “Oh, a fish.” / Child: “Yes, a fis.”
  • Graphospasm: Writer’s cramp.
  • Illeism: The practice of referring to oneself in the third person.
  • Litotes: Understatement by negating the opposite. “I was not disappointed with the news.”
  • Mendaciloquence: Lying as an art; adroit prevarication.
  • Perpilocutionist: One who expounds on a subject of which he has little knowledge.
  • Tmesis: Inserting a word in the middle of another. “Hoo-bloody-ray” and “un-freaking-believable.”

Found God

The person sitting across from me on the bus this morning was engrossed in a small, slender magazine. His lips moved and he occasionally muttered unintelligibly in his enthusiasm. I assumed he was focused on a religious tract of some sort, as he seemed like a man doing his daily devotional.

He was so absorbed in his reading that he almost missed his stop. As the bus pulled away from the curb at 4th and Marion he suddenly looked up, leapt to his feet in alarm, and hollered “back door!” As he scurried past me I caught a glimpse of the book’s title. It read “WORLDS GREATEST WORD SEARCHES.”