This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Nuts and Bolts: cacozelia.

Words are dangerous, you know. They can get out of control.

You need to know what you're doing:

Grease the tray, said the recipe. Okay, said my little daughter: where's the grease?

Yes, you really have to know what the words mean. Don't try to wing it. You don't want to end up with a reputation for cacozelia, do you.

Now, although I sincerely believe* that cacozelia is a bad thing, it's impossible to say so without being guilty of it because cacozelia is a habit of using long, foreign, probably Latin or Greek words**, quite possibly incorrectly, just order to give an impression of wisdom and knowledge.

I'd say that in using the term cacozelia I'd been blown up with my own verbal diarrhoea, except that the other meaning of cacozelia is using a metaphor that's in bad taste.

Really, the only thing for me to do is to refrain from disquisitioning on my own spurious erudition.

And shut up.

Word Probably Not To Use Today: cacozelia. Cacozēlia means bad imitation in Greek.

*Not that you can believe something insincerely.

**Though when Quintilian called cacozelia "the worst of all offences against style, since other faults are due to carelessness, but this is deliberate" then he was presumably talking about using words that weren't Latin.

Cacozelia is also genus of Venezuelan snout moths. Just so you know.

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