Sybaritic: pertaining to or characteristic of a sybarite; characterized by or loving luxury or sensuous pleasure: to wallow in sybaritic splendor.
Sounds to me like Sybaris – a town in Italy – was the place to be in the 6th century. Known for it’s wealth and luxury, the town was eventually destroyed by warring inhabitants who were quarrelling over – what else – power. Hmmm, sound familiar? I wonder if the Sybarite’s financial and auto industries were in need of a bailout.
Just in case you were feeling foolish that you didn’t know this word, don’t worry. You are not alone. According to an on-line search engine that tracks word searches, the number of times various trade publications looked up this word was a whopping 9. You should now feel like a member of the elite, well-spoken group of people who read trade publications with the word ‘sybaritic’ in it. Sounds like they would make for a fun dinner party.
I am not even going to look in the dictionary for this one. I have my own definition.
Evil: 1) Credit Card companies, as in those blood-sucking banks that got an infusion of money from the federal government but continue to suck cardholders dry so their CEOs can fly in private jets and play golf in Scotland; 2) not to name names, but a certain bank, let’s say Bank of America, charges an exorbitant late fee of $49 and is unwilling to work with me to waive the fee even though it’s another credit card company’s (let’s say Chase’s) fault; 3) Chase screwed up on a balance transfer and said it cannot fix the mistake, yet if I make a mistake I get royally penalized; 4) along with insurance companies, the root of many of the problems in the U.S.
And let’s not forget the insufficient fund fees that banks charge customers – like Bank of America’s $35 fee, which it charges even if you overdraw your account by $1. I think banks make the majority of their profits from fees.
In other words, banks suck. But they are a Necessary Evil (for definition, see above).
OK, venting over. Fun-loving, humorous posts will resume when my blood pressure returns to normal.
Maybe this post would be better titled “Non-Word of the Day.” For today I learned that ‘segway’ is not a word. I could have sworn it was.
My dilemma came about in the process of writing an article. I had quoted someone using the word ‘segway,’ but my spellchecker did not like it. Now, me and my spellchecker do not always agree (for instance, it has problems with the words ‘Siig’ and ‘knarly’ – essential bons mots in my world). I looked up the word in the dictionary. No luck. I tried all different kinds of spelling. Still nothing. I did a Google search. Zilch. What the f@*%? I know I’ve heard this word before. Finally – because if Google can’t find it it really doesn’t exist – I stumbled upon a web site that explained the misunderstandings people have about the word ‘segway.’ Apparently, the folks over at Washington State University knew this word was stumping enough people that they had to clarify it once and for all. So nice to know I’m not alone.
Segue, which is Italian, means “to make a smooth transition from one item or topic to another.”
So in actuality, ‘segue-way’ would be redundant. We can thank the inventors of Segway – that ridiculously looking, over-sized scooter that only policemen and airport security use – for thoroughly confusing us even more.
Moral of the story – only dorks use the word ‘segway.’ Don’t be a dork.
Dirigible: Able to be steered.
Puerile: Youthful; juvenile. 2. childishly foolish; immature; silly
What do you get when you combine these two words? You definitely do not get the word ‘toddler.’ Unless, of course, you throw M&Ms into the mix.
Prosaic: commonplace or dull; unimaginative
I know I should probably know this one, and I think I always kind of understood it in context, but it was just about time for me to look it up. Found it in a story about Bob Dylan. And just in case Tasha is reading this, the writer was saying that the only prosaic thing he has ever done is live to be 68. He was not, by any means, calling Dylan boring.
Convolve: “To roll or wind together; coil; twist”
Saw this word in an article about a surfer in Outside Magazine. Didn’t know what it meant, and it’s been bugging me ever since. As you can see, it does not mean to “evolve at the same time,” a logical guess.
Also marks the departure from my fascination with German words. But don’t worry, I shall return. Until then, auf wiedersehen.
Mittelshmerz: ovulation pains
This word isn’t even in the dictionary! Cant’ believe I stumped Webster’s. Do I win something for that? I seem to be continuing my fascination with German words. And this is one word that sounds exactly like what it describes.
Used in a sentence: “Dam Mittelshmerz! Those cramps just won’t stop!”
I think this word also has the potential to be a “Dude” or a “Bastard,” you know, one of those words that, depending on the conotation or tone, can mean multiple things. Like: “That frikin’ Mittelshmerz just cut me off!” Love it already.
So, I am constantly amazed at how many words there are in the English language that I don’t know. So I have decided to start looking them up. Here are a few I just learned (don’t make fun of me if you already knew them).
Solipsistic: can’t get enough of this one, just love the way it slips off my tongue. Means ‘self-absorbed.’
Zeitgeist: My husband is obsessed with the conspiracy movie of the same name, so I finally had to look it up. “The spirit of the time. General trend or thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time.” So is the Zeitgeist now ‘Hope’ or “Broke?”
Schadenfreude: Took forever to find this in the dictionary, but I did and I’m dam proud of it. Yes, another German word but it’s always appearing in Time Magazine (which I am an advid reader of), and I kept feeling stupid when I didn’t know what it meant. Now I do. “Pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.” Hmmm, this is a good one.