of the Week
word or phrase to add to your army.
Agelast looks like it might be pronounced as a compound word: age-last. It is not, in fact, pronounced that way. It is pronounced ah-jih-lost. It is important for me to share with you that I am anything BUT an agelast.
If you've ever seen an ancient photograph, you will definitely see any number of agelasts. People tended to be pretty somber when they had their pictures taken a hundred years ago.
"Come on, girlie, smile for me!"
"No, I shan't do that!"
An agelast is a person who almost never smiles or laughs. They are also commonly referred to as "wet blankets," "sourpusses," and "party poopers."
I sometimes think people act like agelasts do so for attention. They want you to come up and ask them if they are OK so they can share their sad tales with you. It often backfires, however, and makes people want to avoid them.
This is not to say you should ALWAYS have a smile on your face. It is OK to be sad or angry sometimes. It just should not become a lifelong habit.
Today, I'm sharing one of my favorite phrases with you. It's called playing possum. That doesn't mean crawling on all fours and going through peoples trash cans. Neither does it mean carrying your babies on your back or standing in the middle of the street staring at oncoming cars.
I imagine you would be surprised if I were to tell you that you have very likely played possum yourself.
Would you like to know what it actually means?
Have you ever pretended to be asleep to fool your parents or pretending to be dead when you were playing with friends?
Possum "playing possum."
Many creatures play possum. It is a protective tactic that possums use so that predators will leave them alone. They pretend to be dead so other dangerous animals would leave them alone.
Cat "playing possum."
I used to play possum to make my parents think I was asleep. The reason I did that is that I could then get out my favorite book of the moment and read far past my bedtime. I spent most of my childhood sleepy in class because I wanted to read all the time!
For goodness sake, whatever you do, please, please, stay as far away as you can from snollygosters and snallygasters!!!
Both are harmful creatures that can mess up your life.
A snollygoster (snaw-lee-goss-ter) is someone who says one thing and then does the other. They are liars, swindlers, and simply cannot be trusted. They take many forms and you have to really think about what you tell them or how much you trust them.
They are out for themselves and their own gain.
taking the form of a concerned citizen.
An artistic rendering of a snallygaster.
A snallygaster (snah-lee-gas-ter), on the other hand, is a mythical creature, part bird, part reptile, that roams around at night preying on small animals. They are not real, but they are scary to think about.
This week's word means one thing that can be caused by both good and bad conditions.
Collywobbles (kah-lee-wah-bulls) is that feeling of butterflies in your stomach. The thing is, it can be caused by everything from love and infatuation to fear and nervousness. Anything that causes your stomach to feel nervous and fluttery will give you a case of collywobbles.
Sometimes you feel collywobbles without knowing why. This is a feeling of anxiety and you should always pay attention to it. It might be warning you of some danger.
I come down with terrible collywobbles when I have to speak in public or when I'm in a large crowd.
I am a pluviophile (ploo-vee-oh-file). There, I said it. I say without shame, I love rainy days.
Whenever you see -phile on the end of a word, it means "lover of."
When you see -phobia on the end of a word, it means "fear of." If I were afraid of rainy days, I would be a pluviophobe or suffer from pluviophobia.
The thing about being a pluviophile, however, is it makes me also want to lie in bed all day and read or nap, which makes me also a clinophile, or someone who loves beds and lying in them.
Please allow me to begin this explanation by telling you this is something I don't believe in.
Now that that's out of the way, this is a fun German word. That's right. You will now know a German word, if you don't already.
Literally translated it means "face that needs a fist."
So, a backpfeifengesicht (back-five-in-guh-seekt) is a face that needs slapped or punched, which is why I don't believe in it. I don't think anyone ever needs to be hit, but that doesn't mean I don't think about hitting. In that case, I just say to myself, "What a backpfeifengesicht!"
Providing they are not German or don't understand German, I am safe. If they do happen to overhear my whisper and understand what I've just said, I might wind up being the backpfeifengesicht!
I would call this a "oh-no!" in slo-mo!
I don't know if I really need to explain these words beyond the above video clip.
In case you don't yet understand, a blatherskite (blah-ther-skite) is a person who talks quickly, incessantly (constantly), and doesn't really say too awfully much. Also known as a chatterbox or jabbermouth, a blatherskite can be found in almost every group of friends, every classroom, and every job site. They are generally pleasant, but the volume of speech the spit out can sometimes cause you to crave a quiet, dark room.
If this happens, just look at your watch and explain that you forgot an appointment or curfew, and RUN. Do it kindly.
Never be offensive or rude to a blatherskite. The very fact that they jabber so much to you is a compliment. They feel comfortable around you and are able to express themselves.
You have probably told a taradiddle (tare-uh-dih-dull) at some point in your life.
Well, have you? Yes. I'm sure you have. I have told thousands of them.
A taradiddle is a tiny fib, a white lie, a small fabrication, an insignificant untruth, an embellishment.
So, now I ask you once again. Have you ever told a taradiddle?
If you still say "no," I believe that might be a taradiddle itself. But, perhaps not. Maybe you have honestly never told a taradiddle, and if that is the case, good for you!
Next time you tell a fib, and someone asks you if it was a lie, simply say, "Yes, I'm a notorious taradiddler!"
This is going to be a post that might make you crazy! It might make you angry! It might set you off!
This is a post about irritating noises.
Do you ever get upset when you hear someone chewing loudly, snapping their gum, or clicking their fingernails on a table? If certain noises bother you tremendously, you may suffer from misophonia (miss-uh-fone-ee-uh).
Misophonia is a disorder that causes people to be very sensitive to certain noises. While most people don't like the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard, a few really don't like sounds that might not bother someone else. These people are called misophonics (miss-o-fone-ix). They actually suffer when they hear certain sounds. It is not fun.
Right now, with the presidential election only weeks away, the country is suffering from a massively uncomfortable case of agitprop (ah-jiht-prop).
Agitprop is also known as propaganda. It is propaganda that agitates, or stirs up, thus it is agit(ating)prop(aganda).
This practice started with the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, but is is full swing today in the United States where both the Republicans and the Democrats are doing everything in their power to destroy one another.
Agitprop is generally used in art and literature, such as the above poster.
It is probably best if we don't participate, but rather think clearly, study, research, debate, talk, and be as mature as we can when we decide who we want to lead our country.
I am Becky Lyn Rickman. I am a writer because I love words almost as much as I love the people in my life. I want to fill the world with magnificent words and then jump in and splash around in them. I live with Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy, my cats, but the only words they really love are "meat" and "gravy."