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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Dictionary of Terms

The thing I hated about studying Math in school was you always learned things that made you respond: "When am I ever going to use that in real life?". I liked History and English, because they delved into subjects like love and hate and power and beauty. So I decided to study English in college, only to find myself asking: "When am I ever going to use that in real life?", real life now being the work force. Turns out studying Literature doesn't easily translate into dollars and cents in the real world. Even still, my study of words does inform my real life from time to time. Following is an excerpt from my real-life dictionary.

Hyperbole: Extravagant exaggeration.
Example: A recent headline for a story on MSN: "Every woman's worst nightmare: Cellulite."

Delusion: a persistent false psychotic belief that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary.
Example: The University of Notre Dame soliciting donations from a recent graduate (Bubba) who still owes said University thousands of dollars in student loans.

Euphemism: The substitution of a mild or less negative word or phrase for a harsh one.
Example: Chase Bank congratulating me for "paying off" my American Express card when I transferred the balance to a new credit card account.

Misnomer: The use of a wrong or inappropriate designation.
Example: Hearing someone say they want "free health insurance" in America like they have in England.

Oxymoron: A combination of contradictory terms or images.
Example: This lovely decorative piece in our neighbor's yard:

8 comments:

Mark said...

You can't be serious--Notre Dame is already soliciting donations? My guess is that after three or four failed attempts to suck money out of you, they will start making threats such as, "Donate now or you'll forfeit forever any chance to get Notre Dame football tickets!" Stay strong, guys--don't give in!

Kim said...

Mark - just wait, you're next!

Stacy & Mike said...

So the antonym of Hyperbole would be: UNDERSTATEMENT
Example: "Every woman's worst nightmare: Their child being abducted"
Cellulite? Come on girls, everyone has it! Stupid MSN!
Love the post Kim. Lots of laughs.

janel said...

Here's a few more definitions (not so literary as yours were, but that's what I get for studying math in college).
EXTORTION: Notre Dame's tuition
PENNY PINCHER: Not buying blinds for an apartment you plan to live in for a full year
HILLARIOUS: Kim's blog

Kim said...

Janel - 9 months is not a year! Who needs blinds anyway?

Brooke said...

Will you please come give a lesson on vocabulary to my ninth grade students when you are home for Christmas? If you're coming home for Christmas? I am going to show this little part tomorrow to my students--they will love it!

Granny M said...

Hey, Kim,
I just caught up on almost all your blog postings -- you are a natural columnist! You need to get a newspaper job. You could write a column for the "Lifestyles" section and get paid! But, maybe that would sort of defeat your purpose -- or maybe not, depending on your purpose. In any case, this is just a wonderful blog. You are very creative and just a heckuva writer!

granny m said...

I love the Idol/candidate comparisons! You are a great writer, Kim.