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Words with Friends

I have a running collection of words and phrases that I think we should all make an effort to use more. Why use a mundane word describe something, when another word means the same thing yet is so much more fun? (Synonyms = fun!) Just like with breakfast, shoes, fonts, and lip color… I go through phases about what I prefer in terms of word choice.

Here are a few of my recent faves:

noun \ˈmäk-sē\
Definition of MOXIE: energy, pep; courage, determination; know-how

I like to use moxie in professional settings when it is kind of unexpected, yet still work appropriate. Watch out, Convions!

kid·do \ noun \ˈki-(ˌ)dō\
plural kiddos
Definition of KIDDO: used as a familiar form of address; child, kid

I try to have as many non gendered words for “y’all” up my sleeve at any one time. I think I’m sick of using “kids” and am now going to move to “kiddos” but haven’t incorporated it completely yet.

splen·did \ adj \ˈsplen-dəd\
Definition of SPLENDID: possessing or displaying splendor: as a : shining, brilliant b : marked by showy magnificence; illustrious, grand

I attended a conference in 2003 which featured a speaker who referred to a period of her life as being “generally fabulous.” It was at that time that I decided to incorporate the word fabulous into my everyday speech. But that was several years ago, so last year I decided to mix it up a bit and sprinkle in splendid in place of fabulous.

sub·lime \ adj \sə-ˈblīm\
Definition of SUBLIME: lofty, grand, or exalted in thought, expression, or manner; of outstanding spiritual, intellectual, or moral worth; tending to inspire awe usually because of elevated quality (as of beauty, nobility, or grandeur) or transcendent excellence

I wrote a blog post about a year ago about a really great (bland adjective used on purpose) meal. When I reread the post, I’d used the words fabulous and delicious about 10 times each. SO, I actively looked for new words to describe meals that truly inspired awe. (ALSO: My best friend Elissa F. used the word sublime to describe an Indigo Girls concert we attended over the summer. It truly was.)

noun \ˈgal\
Definition of GAL: girl, woman

I know this word is dated. I actually used to really dislike it… but I recently decided to use it more. I am trying to reclaim it. My first image of the word “gals” conjures up polyester pants in unflattering colors and overly teased hair. But since I’ve started blogging, I’ve found the word useful when I’m craving a little variety. And who doesn’t love a gendered throwback noun now and then?

noun \ˈklüj\
Definition of KLUDGE: a system and especially a computer system made up of poorly matched components

I first heard this word about three months into my time at Convio and couldn’t get over it. Then I forgot about it until it recently resurfaced in my life during a conversation this past week. Although it usually lives in computery lands, I think we should take it beyond the shadows of the tech landscape and introduce it to the masses. Shall we?

adj \ˈshī-nē\
Definition of SHINY: having a smooth glossy surface; bright with the rays of the sun, sunshiny; filled with light

This word is just so useful. Consider throwing it into conversation at slightly inappropriate times.

adj \ˈki-kē\
Definition of KICKY: providing a kick or thrill, exciting; also excitingly fashionable

I have my colleague, Cynthia B., to thank for this one! Her most fantastic blog, I am So Not Cool, featured this word in a post about a recent episode of Glee. I’d heard it before, but never really thought of it as a word I’d add to my collection of favorites until that very moment. Thanks Cynthia!

grace·ful \ adj \ˈgrās-fəl\
Definition of GRACEFUL: displaying grace in form or action; pleasing or attractive in line, proportion, or movement

I think this word is far underused. I would also like to be more graceful in general, so sprinkling this word into my everyday speech is a helpful reminder. AND! I love the name Grace for a little girl.

Jew·ess \ noun \ˈjü-əs\
Definition of JEWESS: a Jewish girl or woman

I love the caveat that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides for this word: “sometimes offensive.” Ha! I’m into Jewess because it describes a mildly offensive Jewish woman. Just like me. (And in the same category as “gals,” I’m also into reclaiming this word. To me in screams strong and proud. A big thanks to Jewess With an Attitude for helping me bring this word into vogue again.)

adj \ˈswaŋ-kē\
Definition of SWANK: characterized by showy display, ostentatious, fashionably elegant, smart

This word comes in handy time and time again. I mostly use it because very few things I do are actually swanky, so it is always kind of hilarious in the context of my life. But then again, swanky is in the eye of the beholder… right?

Definition of JONES: to have a strong desire or craving for something

My good friends at Merriam-Webster seem to think this is slang. I don’t agree… so I see this as more of a challenge to get jonesing incorporated fully into mainstream American vernacular. Speaking of which, I’m really jonesing for a lobster roll right about now.

he·ro·ic \ adj \hi-ˈrō-ik also her-ˈō- or hē-ˈrō-\
Definition of HEROIC: of, relating to, resembling, or suggesting heroes especially of antiquity, exhibiting or marked by courage and daring; supremely noble or self-sacrificing; of impressive size, power, extent, or effect

I find myself using this word often, and most recently, it fits perfectly with my (not so) secret agenda to do more with superhero capes. Why don’t we give people capes as opposed to awards when they win things? And why don’t people dress up as superheros more often? This is really a untapped area of creative energy and costuming possibility.

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  • Grace

    I love this! Some of my favorite words are included like fabulous, shiny and graceful. I am digging “swanky,” “kludgey” and “splendid” too. I used to use swanky a lot when I worked at a hotel. You are right, it can be a bit hard to incorporate. I also had no idea about your affinity for the name Grace. I whole heartedly approve! ;-)

  • Cheryl

    Kiddos is def an every day word. And I too love “swanky” but ya know often when I say it people look at me like they don't get it. As in “my hotel room was swanky” – what's not to get about that? I vote we bring “swanky” back.

    Btw I'm also enjoying “janky” for things that are just a little off. “Stellar” is also a favorite. And as you know I am very much into “rockin my socks” as a phrase. Yay for fun with synonymns!

  • Suburban Sweetheart

    I haaaate being called “kiddo,” But I sure do love “sublime,” “swanky” and “moxie.” I'm also partial to “spendy.”

  • edith

    Everything about this post makes me happy. I especially love talking to you when you choose to use these designated words cause we wind up having a whole meta conversation about our conversation. You are one of a kind Emily!

    What about elegant? A facilitator and overall fabulous gentleman named Micheal uses it as he takes you through a strategic planning process. “Now that is so much more elegant!.”

  • Elle

    Josh has taken to referring to me and the Pennster as his “gals”. I find it charming with old-fashioned panache. As far as capes go, haven't you seen The Incredibles? “No capes, dahling. No capes.”