Abrogate is it?
Watch him and his big words!
Did you swallow a dictionary for breakfast?
‘Excuse me, if you are, as you seem, as a self-proclaimed advocate of the terse vocabulary; then shouldn’t you be really asking me if ‘I did eat me a word-book for first meal?’.
There is a lot to be said for limited vocabularies; I’ll go further and say that a lot can be said with limited vocabularies. I was looking over the output of the last week ( if you thought writing your own blogs was narcissistic, what do you think of a man who starts reading them all the time?). I was looking at the blog, and thinking about how maybe I could with a bit of trimming. Just a bit of trimming here and there, perhaps a little more concentration on clarity; maybe I could do a few less semi-colons; they pop up in the weirdest places; I’m sure I’m using them wrong; and wouldn’t my writing style also benefit from a small monkey on my shoulder who has been trained to stick a pencil sharply into the side of my head every time I wrote a sentence comprising of more than twelve words?
One thing I have hummed and hawed to myself over has been vocabulary. You dinnae want to patronise the poor wee ladies and lassies, but you don’t want to present yourself as wishing to appear a teensey weeney bit more intellectual than you are either.
So I thought I’d come clean. It’s like this people, If words were butterflies, (or ‘Flutter bys’ if you want to use their original and descriptive pre-Spoonerist appellation) and if someone who likes to use all the different words they can find, is like a Butterfly-collector, then that’s me.
I’m not a very good Butterfly collector mind you, down at the Butterfly club, I’m a figure of pity and scorn; “It’s true he has some exotic specimens” they tell the new members dismissively, “but his Basic collection has almost as many gaping holes in it as that moth-eaten rag he calls a Butterfly Net! Ho! Ho!” they guffaw, as they slap their thighs, blink back the tears and try to remember whose round it is. Bastards.
I care not a jot. I will see a word flutter by and even though my collection requires it, I wont trap it with a dictionary just yet, I prefer the word to come to me slowly, through repeated settings in its natural environment: context. Those who just brutally pluck words from the air and ram them into the cage of definition upon first sighting I call monsters. True, their collections may be larger than mine, and true, they find no problem securing tickets to the annual Flutterby-Catchers dinner dance, (even though I’ve been told they were completely sold out two weeks ago).
But I will hold strong, I will not adopt their methods. I believe the gentle approach is the only way to capture and understand such delicate creatures. I know that if I see a word only rarely, this may never happen, right now there is a big empty space in my collection where the meaning of ‘abrogate’ should be and I have been meaning to…
Wait! What’s this coming out of the ethereal mists? Is it the lesser-spotted ‘abrogate’ in context?
I believe it is.
From Cormac McCarthys Blood Meridian:
Someone snatched the old woman’s
blindfold from her and she and the juggler
were clouted away and when the company
turned in to sleep and the low fire was roaring
in the blast like a thing alive these four yet
crouched at the edge of the firelight among
their strange chattels and watched how the
ragged flames fled down the wind as if sucked
by some maelstrom out there in the void
some vortex in that waste apposite to which
man's transit and his reckonings alike lay
Hmmmnn well maybe not today but soon ‘abrogate’, soon ; I almost have you; one more sighting in context should do it, I hope it wont be too long.
This monkey's gotta go.