Thursday, December 20, 2012

Twelve Themes of Two Thousand Twelve: WORD (1/12)

Every year certain words become constituents of vernacular consciousness, further diluting our ability to communicate. Maybe some of the following words should be used more often, but most of them should be purged from common usage. Instead, diversify your speech patterns; make use of the internet to enrich the descriptiveness of your life.

1. Curate

[kyoo r-it; kyoo-reyt, kyoo r-eyt]

to pull together, sift through, and select for presentation, as music or Web site content: 
“We curate our merchandise with a sharp eye for trending fashion,” the store manager explained.
This was a very understated term in 2012, perhaps over the past decade as the world progressively filled with content. I consider it a useful word to underscore my intentions when I offer a list. You better be damn-well-certain particular attention was employed in compiling lists such as these. Use the word to splash up your offering of a "mixtape" to a person.

2. Cultivate


to promote or improve the growth of (a plant, crop, etc.) by labor and attention. to develop or improve by education or training; train; refine:
to cultivate a singing voice.
Another useful word to describe personal activities and things that aren't merely interests. The implication of your desire to cultivate brings to mind a willingness beyond the pedestrian "want" and "need" that is the norm; it brings an air of dignity and strength of character to any dialogue. Use when you meet someone who appears to have an intimidating command of the English language.

3. Ephemeral


lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory:
the ephemeral joys of childhood.
I have often used this word in the past, especially within the text of essays. It has a ring to it that tinges with negative, griminess. However, as one looks around the world, there is a lot that can be identified as explicitly abrupt. Drop this word in a sentence to profoundly contrast longevitous ideas. Or, if you want to impress a date while strolling the boulevards or within Temples of the Sacred and Profane (museums), highlight your shpiel on Pop Art versus Graffiti.

4. Mollywop


via the urban dictionary: To reach waaay back with your pimp hand, damn near knocking oneself off balance to deliver a massive blow with an inside closed fist to the temple of your hoe or foe.
"When I see that guy who stole my money, he's getting molly wopped on site."
This word is an oldie, but easily a goodie in today's usage. Not only does it avoid sounding overly violent, it can confuse the average witness. It reminds me of "skeet" before people realized the definition. I have heard the word in a song or two, and it delights me to know such a vibrant-looking derogatory is laced in slang. Dare you to use it as an adjective to surreptitiously insult a person.

5. Throwed


via the urban dictionary: Houston slang, for being wasted, high, or both.
"I was so throwed after 7 shots, and 4 bowls of dro."
Another classic slang word slung around this year, and definitely an enjoyable word to use. One of the wonders in modern colloquial vocabulary is the modifiablity of a word. Not only can you describe drunkeness as this word, but it can be treated in the same manner as "bad" in the late 80's/early 90's. The flexibility of the word encompasses negativity and positivity. Use at your own risk, however, and be prepared to support your claims with proper urban diction.

6. Ratchet


via the urban dictionary:
The term 'ratchet' has no less than two distinct meanings. As an adjective, it describes a person, usually a woman, or activity, who is out of hand, out of control, generally whack in some way, dirty, ghetto, unattractive, Crucian, or just generally disliked. As a verb, or a direct object ("do tha ratchet, yeah, do tha ratchet..."), the term serves to identify or describe the dance craze--and the movements associated herewith-- of the Ratchet.
This is a word that reached epidemic proportions in usage for the average human on the block. As entertaining as it was to hear its negative connotations, I preferred its use as an alternative to the "HYPHY" movement of yesteryear. In every case, the word must cease and desist activities in 2013.

7. Cray

No one knows what it means, but it's provocative. It gets people going.
"That shit Cray."

8. Occupy


to take possession and control of (a place), as by military invasion.
"'Occupy Wall Street' grew to become Occupy 'insert name of your city here' all over the country. It should be banished because of the media overuse and now people use it all the time, i.e. 'I guess we will occupy your office and have the meeting there.' 'We are headed to Grandma's house – Occupy Thanksgiving is under way." Bill Drewes, Rochester Hills, Michigan

As listed by the Lake Superior State University 2012 List of Banished Words, its usage whimpered into the annals of history during the latter half of this year, just as that grassroots movement lost steam across the nation. However, the sentiments of the ideology translated into favorable political results in an important election year for the P.O.T.U.S. Like any internet meme, expect a resurgence whenever people seek to undermine each other.

9. Ginormous


via the urban dictionary: overly large. taken from the words "gigantic" and "enormous" to form "ginormous."
"No need to make a gigantic (idiot) out of yourself trying to find an enormous word for 'big.'"Coulombe, Sanford, Florida
Another pick from the LSSU banned list, it serves to display the academic deficiencies of its users. It is not a clever mash-up, and yet it has survived for years in public usage. No person that matriculated out of primary school should allow it to be added to their spoken arsenal.

10. Swag

via the urban dictionary:
"Originally from the Scottish slang word 'swagger' which was a description of the way some Scots walk (in a swaying motion), the word was then misinterpreted by the English as 'the way someone presents themselves'. Eg, whether someone looks cool.
The word quickly made its way to the states and has ever since become the catchphrase of douchbags and tools everywhere."
Aside from being an uninspired truncation that spills from the mouths of countless youths, it is also extremely tired of functioning repetively in the verses of rappers. Such is the state of common English language. I remember using this word as a term for merchandise and free stuff I acquired at comic book conventions. Alas, it did not catch on in that form.

11. Meh

This word deserves to be placed on everyone's ban list. It emphasizes apathy and a disaffected response to other people. The worst part of its usage is that perpetrators will waste not only their own time, but others' when it is the only entry of a posted comment.

12. Love/Hate

Is there a garden around? Because these words have been watered down to the point of no return. And it’s all because people have been slowly accepting them as reasonable alternatives to describe fondness (or lack thereof). Love and hate both involved descriptions of serious passion or emotion at one time; now they’re just used as slang-fodder for anything to make a poetic statement. Let’s restore the prestige of these once-great expressions and lay off their usage, say, 95% of the time. That ought to help.

Honorable mentions and other words that deserve to be under moratorium:

You Only Live Once. As an acronym, it is a useful rally cry to commit acts of obvious stupidity. Yes, as far as we know, we can only live in the singular reality we experience. That does not mean it is socially acceptable to be a cretin. The only entertainment I derive from saying the word is when I cross the distance between Sacramento and Davis, because I have triumphantly entered Yolo county.

Serious. Yet another truncated word used primarily in short-form messaging. I had my fun using OSRS? and ORLY (oh really)? to punctuate text messages, but that is moronic behavior. Onto the next one.

Seeing this barbaric query on display to ask if I am mad does serve a savage purpose of angering the reader more. A plausible response is to assault them with every word synonymous to "imbecile".

Admit it, no one genuinely laughs out loud when they type those three letters. 

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