Friday, June 25, 2010

Read-Over Words

You know those words you encounter when reading that you don't really know what they mean? From the context you may have an idea or just a feeling about what the writer is getting at, or it's not crucial to understanding the text, so you just keep going.

Those are read-over words. I have decided to capture those words, pin them down and try to tame them.

First up is one of those foreign terms that pop up from time to time. When I read for the third time recently the adjective "soi-dissant," I decided to track it down and find out what it really means. I don't speak French, so this one didn't speak to me, although I could tell from the context that it is not meant as a compliment. It turns out to be laughably simple.

Soi-dissant means "self-styled," like "so-called" with the extra twist of the implication that the soi-dissant person may be the only one who would call him such.

So, I am a soi-dissant word crank. Now if I can use the term a couple more times today I can consider it mine.

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