I am sometimes a pompous ass. You might be, too.
In my journey across the Internet to find content for this august blog, I ran across as website called The Pompous Ass Words Web Site. It’s exactly what it says–a list of words that make you sound like a pompous ass when you use them. Unfortunately, utilize didn’t make the cut. It’s a pompous word, but not a pompous ass word. Go figure.
As I read down the list of pompous ass words (PAWs), I was happy with my lack of pompousness…for a brief period of time. In short, here’s a list of pompous ass words I have used in writing or speaking in recent memory (please don’t think less of me):
- fecund (which means fertile)
- obstreperous (unruly)
- quiescent (inactive–I used it as a synonym for docile, which isn’t exactly right.)
- matriculate (enroll. Used incorrectly with humorous effect by former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Hank Stram below.)
- trope (figure of speech)
- cogitate (think)
- fait accompli (foregone conclusion)
- sepuku (suicide by disembowelment)
- tendentious (biased)
- vapid (dull, tedious)
Aside from the obvious, the problem with these words is that, like Coach Stram, you might not get them exactly right. For instance, I always figured vapid meant Paris Hilton-like. It does, but not in the way I thought. I thought it meant functionally brain dead–you know, completely devoid of intelligent thought. It doesn’t.
A more difficult list is the non pompous-ass pompous word list. I use these words even more often. Right now, there are six of them (epithet, unduly, exacerbate, utilize, impact, and confluence). I am embarrassed to say I have used five of them. In my defense, though, I used confluence correctly in saying that Three Rivers Stadium was located at the confluence of the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio Rivers. And for all my hatred of the word utilize, the most useless word in the English language, I periodically slip.
What about you? What pompous ass words to you use?