Thursday, November 30, 2006

She's Not Completely Crazy

You know how there are certain words and phrases in the English language that just need to be retired? My mother is their advocate. She will not let them die.

My mom likes to whip out stellar phrases like, "I bet you dollars to donuts..." The best part is that she uses this phrase when she is trying to make a serious point about something, and she actually expects us to keep a straight face following its delivery.

The number one beneficiary of her ridiculous vocabulary crusade is the word persnickety. She is the only person I have ever heard use this word. With no exception, the only person. In fact, I live under the firm believe that if my mother stopped using this word, it would drop off the face of the Earth never to be heard again. This past weekend my mother dropped the persnickety bomb again, and this time it was in the presence of several other people. Judging by the strange looks and snickers that were exchanged between us after hearing the word, I suspect none of them had ever heard it used before either. This made me wonder if persnickety was even a real word. I knew what it meant and could define it, but only because I had heard my mother use it for so long. I suggested to her that she made it up and she fervently denied it.

I took it upon myself to look it up and check. You're right mom, it is a word. Sorry I doubted you. This in no way suggests that I believe you should continue to use this word, just that you're a little less crazy than originally suspected.

One entry found for persnickety.
Main Entry: per•snick•e•ty
Pronunciation: p&r-'sni-k&-tE
Function: adjective
Etymology: alteration of pernickety
1 a : fussy about small details : FASTIDIOUS b : having the characteristics of a snob
2 : requiring great precision
- per•snick•e•ti•ness /-n&s/ noun


slskenyon said...

You should get out a recorder and tape some of her conversations for future generations just in case your definition doesn't make it into the new edition of Webster.

Anonymous said...

I say persnickety all the time too! Soo there!

onewomanwonder said...

It must be a old person thing my parents say it all the time!

Bridget said...

Wow I had no idea. By the way, my mother asked that I add, "Going to hell in a handbasket" to her list of phrases.

Rob said...

I don't use it often, but I have been know to drop the persnickety bomb every once in while, I guess that means I'm old!

Anonymous said...

My mom loves the word, "Pert-near"... what the heck does that mean? She uses it to describe proxemity.. like, "it is pert-near freezing out. It's a contactration obviously.. "pretty near". But, who uses that word? She's never lived down south! She not Appalation or anything. It's crazy.

Kenric said...

my parents do something pretty odd. they use the words yuck and gross as nouns. for instance, when i was living at home, they would be like "Kenric, go clean that gross/yuck off the kitchen counter".

Bridget said...

My parents say that too, but it's usually in reference to me sitting on the counter.