One of my favorite things about the English language is how friggin’ huge it is. For a variety of reasons, English devours new words voraciously while holding on to old words forever. The result is a massive, freakish, glorious chimera that includes a word for just about anything you can imagine.
You misheard the Jimi Hendrix line “‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky” as “‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy.” Hearing a phrase that was never spoken? There’s a word for that: mondegreen.
A guy on the street has three cups, puts a ball under one, and mixes them all up. He wants you to bet on which cup the ball’s under. The three-cup swindle? There’s a word for that: thimblerig.
Calling in sick when your only symptom is an aversion to work? There’s a word for that: malingering.
The symbol for division, this guy right here: ÷ Yeah, there’s a word for that: obelus.
The floppy hat Link wears in the Legend of Zelda games?
No, Nintendo didn’t invent that. There’s a much older word for it: Phrygian cap.
And finally, something we’ve all encountered at one time or another: a dude (or lady!) who writes crappy poems. There’s a word for that, even if they probably don’t know it: poetaster.
Learned any cool words lately?