Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

It pays to enrich your word power.

Yesterday, I experienced another vocabulary discussion between my two newest employees.

"Boss, are you familiar with the term 'conflaggeration'?" (Well, that's how he pronounced it.)

Since they knew what "conflagration" meant (even if not how to pronounce it), they were hypothesizing that the capacity of being flammable must be "conflaggerable", the state of actual burning must be "conflaggerizing", and the result of combustion must be "conflaggerated".

How did I get named as the judge in these sort of things?

Naturally, I whipped out my large dictionary to settle the matter. First, I pointed out the proof that I pronounced "conflagration" correctly and they didn't. Second, I read to them that there is only one variant (at least in this edition of this dictionary) of that word, and that is "conflagrant", which means "burning intensely; blazing". (I'll give them a point for logically extrapolating other words, but they're still in negative numbers for being incorrect and not knowing how to pronounce the word in the first place.)

Speak softly and carry a big dictionary.


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