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Increase Your Word Power

picture of eschew obfuscation

Since my last post was about mathematics, I thought we'd work on our active vocabulary in today's post. I have a fun list of two dozen common sayings expressed with high falutin words. Some people take a special ghoulish delight in using big words that others don't know. For instance, the saying "Pulchritude possesses solely cutaneous profundity" is more commonly known as "beauty is only skin deep." See how many of the sayings below you can figure out.

The first two were written by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth — of Cheaper by the Dozen fame — to assist their children in increasing their vocabulary. They were able to get them to rhyme.

A futile superfluity of culinary aid destroys nutritious liquids of osseous tissues made.

Never enumerate ere fractured are the shells of bipeds gallinaceous, lest suddenly thy calculations prove utterly fallacious.

Now on to my list:

1. Members of an avian species of identical plumage congregate.

2. Selecting on the part of mendicants must be interdicted.

3. Surveillance should precede saltation.

4. That prudent avis that matutinally deserts the cosiness of its abode will ensnare a vermiculate creature.

5. It is fruitless to become lachrymose over precipitously departed lacteal fluid.

6. Freedom from incrustations of grime is contiguous to rectitude.

7. The stylus is of greater potency than the claymore.

8. It is fruitless to attempt to indoctrinate a superannuated canine with innovative maneuvers.

9. Eschew the implement of correction and vitiate the scion.

10. The temperature of the aqueous content of an unremittingly ogled saucepan does not reach 100 degrees Celsius.

11. All articles that coruscate with resplendence are not truly auriferous.

12. Where one detects visible vapors having their provenance in ignited carbonaceous material, one is certain also to find conflagration.

13. A plethora of individuals with expertise in culinary techniques vitiate the potable concoction produced by steeping certain osseous tissues and comestible herbs and vegetables.

14. Eleemosynary deeds have their incipience intramurally.

15. Male cadavers are incapable of yielding testimony.

16. Individuals who make their abode in vitreous edifices would be advised to refrain from catapulting petrous projectiles.

17. Neophyte's serendipity.

18. Exclusive dedication to necessitous chores without interludes of hedonistic diversion renders Jacques a hebetudinous fellow.

19. Missiles of ligneous or lithoidal consistency have the potential of fracturing my osteal structure, but appellations will eternally remain innocuous.

20. A revolving lithic conglomerate accumulates no congeries of a diminutive, verdant bryophitic plant.

21. Elementary sartorial techniques intitially applied, preclude repetitious actions to the squares of three.

22. Abstention from any aleatory undertakings precludes a potential escalation of a lucrative nature.

23. Persons of imbecilic mentality navigate in parameters which cherubic entities approach with trepidation.

24. A person presenting the ultimate cachinnation possesses thereby the optimal cachinnation.

Try to figure out these two nursery rhymes in loftier language, now that you've got the hang of these.

Scintillate, scintillate, asteroid minific.
Fain do I fathom your nature specific
Exaltedly set on the aether capacious
A reasonable facsimile of a gem carbonaceous.

Scintillate, scintillate, asteroid minific.
Fain do I fathom your nature specific.

A research team proceeded towards the apex of a natural geologic protuberance, the purpose of their expedition being the procurement of a sample of fluid hydride of oxygen in a large vessel, the exact size of which was unspecified. One member of the team precipitously descended, sustaining severe damage to the upper cranial portion of his anatomical structure; subsequently the second member of the team performed a self rotational translation oriented in the same direction taken by the first team member.


The answers:

First, the two by the the Gilbreths:

Too many cooks spoil the broth.

Don't count your chickens before they're hatched.

Now my list:

1. Birds of the feather flock together.

2. Beggars can't be choosers.

3. Look before you leap.

4. The early bird gets the worm.

5. Don't cry over spilt milk.

6. Cleanliness is next to godliness.

7. The pen is mightier than the sword.

8. You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

9. Spare the rod and spoil the child.

10. A watched pot never boils.

11. All that glitters is not gold.

12. Where there is smoke, there is fire.

13. Too many cooks spoil the broth.

14. Charity begins at home.

15. Dead men tell no tales.

16. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

17. Beginner's luck.

18. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.

19. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

20. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

21. A stitch in time saves nine.

22. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

23. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

24. He who laughs last laughs best.

Finally the first line of each of the nursery rhymes:

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star...

Jack and Jill Went up the Hill...


I hope you've picked up a few new words you can add to your active vocabulary. How many did you get right?


"If you're paying attention, you'll see that the story of your life is the story of God's faithfulness." — Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

Wouldn't it be smarter to label "top secret" documents something less conspicuous, like "trivial information which would only bore you to tears"?

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9 Comments on “Increase Your Word Power”

  1. #1 Ben
    on Oct 21st, 2010 at 7:22 am

    of similar ilk:

    Convey, Convey, Convey your conveyance,
    Placidly down the liquid solution.
    Ecstatically Ecstatically Ecstatically Ecstatically
    Existence is but an illusion.

    Row, Row, Row your Boat

    Rob adds: Good one, Ben! Thanks for adding your comment.

  2. #2 Vikki
    on Oct 21st, 2010 at 7:44 am

    I figured out almost half on the first reading. Some were pretty good; however, I think I’ll stick with common English for now.

    Rob adds: Good job, Vikki! I didn’t write those, but I did do a lot of cleaning up of misspelled or downright wrong words in them. And I’m with you, with use a big word when a diminutive one will suffice.

  3. #3 Kris Stephens
    on Oct 21st, 2010 at 11:55 am

    14 out of 24, plus the nursery rhymes. The second was a bit more difficult because it didn’t rhyme! 😉

    Rob adds: Good job, Kris! I was surprised to run across both of those, especially that whoever was able to make the first one rhyme. That’s why I wasn’t surprised that the second one didn’t. It was pretty verbose, in fact. Glad you got it.

  4. #4 H McKee
    on Oct 22nd, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Love this post! I got most of them (though not all). I have a t-shirt with #19 on it (except it says “petrous” instead of “lithoidal”). And the version of Row, Row, Row Your Boat from Mr. Rogers goes like this:

    Propel, propel, propel your craft
    gently down liquid solution.
    Ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically,
    existence is but an illusion.

    Very similar to the one already posted, but slightly different. 🙂

    Rob adds: Thanks, H McKee, for your comment. Thanks for the full version of Propel, propel, propel your craft.

  5. #5 Michael (Constant Conservative)
    on Oct 22nd, 2010 at 10:19 am

    My corporeal self exudes positive emanations due to the neoteric debarkation of the picayune progeny.

    Rob adds: Please post the details (stats) about your recently born child, Michael, so we can share your joy! 😀

  6. #6 Michael (Constant Conservative)
    on Oct 22nd, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    7 lbs 12 oz, 20.5 in long. A little girl born on her grandmother’s 70th birthday (though that was unexpected, seeing she came two weeks past full term). Mother and daughter are doing very well.

    Rob adds: Thanks for the update, Michael! Glad to hear that all is well, even if she didn’t decide to wait until my birthday, next September 30, to be born. 😀

  7. #7 Jessica
    on Oct 22nd, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    These were fun. 🙂 I got 17/24, plus the nursery rhymes.

    I like your quote at the end — I just did a research project on digital steganography (information hiding), which, in a sense, hides interesting information inside of “trivial information which would only bore you to tears.”

    Rob adds: You did well, Jessica. I’m glad to hear the signature line was suitable. It seems as if, with this many readers, each one hits someone’s circumstances just right.

  8. #8 Corene
    on Oct 23rd, 2010 at 12:14 am

    My husband asked his Grandma, “How is the weather up there on your high horse?” She loved it and proceeded to tell someone “How is the precipitation up there on your equine?”

    And yesterday I was trying to tell Jesse that someone told me “Don’t look a gift horse in his mouth” and without missing a beat he said “Don’t examine the dental structure of a complimentary equine”

    Rob adds: Sounds as if Jesse and his grandma are quite a pair! Thanks for sharing, Corene.

  9. #9 Sue
    on Oct 24th, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    These are great! Here’s one a bit less complex, but still more high-falutin’ than most phrases we southerners use daily:

    “Have a fine slumber, may thy sleep be compassed about with compression, and please beware of carnivorous insects.”

    Rob adds: Thanks, Sue! With all the bedbug infestation in the news lately, that’s quite appropriate. 😀