So, what’s the word? Really, what is the word?
With more than 250,000 words in the English language, you’d think there would be a word for just about everything. Not so. Therefore, I am on a crusade to find a term for some everyday occurrences for which there is no label. I may need your help on some of these. I can’t do everything.
Ever make yourself a tall, cool glass of your favorite beverage but, when you take the first sip, there’s an ice blockage that smacks right into your lips?
All of a sudden, instead of quenching your thirst, the liquid is running down the sides of your mouth. You insert your finger to break up the ice dam, but to no avail. Eventually, it’s clear sailing, but what do we call this: How about a “glacial splash?”
You are ready to watch your favorite show on cable, so you enter the three-digit channel number. But only two digits appear. You try again: 140. All you get is 14 or 40. I’m not sure what to call this phenomenon, but I think the concept was invented by Comcast.
Maybe it’s me, but it seems whenever I get to the checkout, the clerk is out of dimes or quarters and has to open one of those rolls of coins.
Then I stand there while he smashes the roll against the register drawer. It takes forever. We do need a term for the time this takes: How about “coinuwaiting?”
At a convenience store, why do I always go to the wrong counter to pay? “I’m sorry sir, this register isn’t open,” they tell me, or “I’ll have to take you at the other station.”
I’m holding a hot cup of coffee, an apple turnover and a Red Bull, and I don’t want to move. I’m going to call this regi-straying. This drives me so crazy that I’d be willing to call the business ahead of time and ask exactly where the cashiers want me to stand in line. Here’s a word for that: preregisterating.
What do we call the situation when you really can’t remember if the plates and utensils in your dishwasher are clean or dirty? “Honey, are we OK to empty the machine?”
“Not sure; I’m disharrayed.”
Here’s one you can help me with: You’ve just banged your elbow really, really hard. There’s a fraction of a second (that seems like forever) before you actually feel the pain. We need a name for that period when you know you’re about to be in deep trouble.
I tried to explain to my wife why I thought it was important to write this column, and to prove my point I gave her a little quiz about some existing little-known words.
“OK, Mary Ellen, what do you call the position you take when you’re standing, and your hands are on your hips with your elbows pointed outward?”
“Akimbo,” she said confidently. “Everyone knows that.”
“Wow, that is the right word. OK, what do you call that metal band on a pencil?”
“A ferrule, of course. Now give me a difficult one.”
So then I asked Mary Ellen if she knew the term for a woman who thinks she knows everything.
Here’s some advice for you men. When a woman gets 2 inches from your face, standing with arms akimbo, it’s time to change the subject.
Television personality Dick Wolfsie writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.