What’s The Meaning of All This?

16 Sep

You may have noticed that I’ve been M.I.A lately. If so, you are awesome and amazing because that means you were observant and missed me. (The former is good, but the latter is more worthy of praise…) I meant to write, I really did. I meant to write about my Grandma’s 93rd birthday on August 31. (She had a rockin’ good time and my mom and I made a cake that was EPIC.) I meant to write about the weird dreams I’ve been having. (A few nights ago, I dreamed that I was eating tomato soup in my car. That’s it. Nothing else happened. Tomato soup.) I had plans, I tell you. Plans!

However, I’ve been busy. I’m not going to go into all of it because I subscribe to the superstitious belief that I will jinx myself and the universe will punish me for sharing too soon. This sounds very doom and gloom, but I’m pretty sure there’s something to it. Of course, it’s not unlike the reluctance of J.K. Rowling’s characters to speak the name Voldemort. This might mean that if I do talk about certain decisions that have been made and actions that have been taken, they will lose their ability to inspire fear and self-doubt.


Well, I will tell you that I am taking the GRE in a little less than a month and have been trying to study. I was never very good at studying, and I hardly had to do it in college. I was an English major. We mostly had essays instead of tests. When there was an exam, it was on a book or something we’d read…and we wrote an essay. (Damned if you do and damned if you don’t, that’s all I’m essay’n.*) You either knew the material, or you didn’t. For four years of higher education, I rarely had to memorize anything. (Rote? Is that anything like “wrote”?) I watched my friends and roommates study and recite formulas, dates, chemicals, economic principles, Chinese vocabulary. It looked hard.

While I don’t want to bomb the math portion of the GRE, I don’t care all that much about it. It’s important that I do well in the verbal part because it’s generally assumed that an English major should know that crap section. I’ve been doing some vocab exercises, and I’d like to share with you some words I got wrong:

What it seems like it should mean: difficult and sketchy
         ex. When she found herself surrounded by skanks with no way out, she knew she was in a hoary situation.

What it means: White or grey from age. 
         ex. My neighbor’s fourteen-year-old golden retriever has a hoary muzzle. 

What it seems like it should mean: A person who speaks loudly, incessantly, and without recognizing his/her audience.
         ex. Her boyfriend was such a somnambulist–droning on and on–that he reminded me of a car alarm.
What it means:  a sleepwalker
         ex.  Oftentimes, a somnambulist will wake up in another part of the house, having no recollection of leaving his own bed. 

What it seems like it should mean: a dozen covens? A cozy oven?
         ex. 1 I worry that Michelle Bauchmann has a cozen of followers ready to do her bidding.
         ex. 2 Spooning in the two-person sleeping bag, we were as warm as a cozen.

What it means:  To deceive; to cheat; to act deceitfully.
         ex. Sometimes I jingle the leashes and stomp my shoes to cozen my dog to come out of hiding. Yes, she is probably smarter than me.

What it seems like it should mean: A type of falcon
         ex. If Cory was an animal, he would be a flying perigee–the hunter of all that is fuzzy wuzzy.

What it means:  The lowest or closest point; the point of a satellite’s orbit that is nearest to the earth.
        ex. Tonight, for the first time in a kazillion years, the moon will be at its closest perigee. 

What it seems like it should mean: A particularly spicy pepper native to the southeast region of Peru
        ex. Before our trip to Machu Picchu, we decided to eat a picayune. Santa Maria! I still can’t feel my tongue!

What it means: Small coin; something of little value or importance.
        ex. If I had a picayune for every time hour I spent studying–wait, this feels like math…

Just to warn you, my posts will probably be sporadic and shorter than usual in the coming weeks. Go ahead and miss me, it will warm my vocabulary-filled heart. Oh, and don’t any of you mention that I could have used this blog-writing time to study and review. This is a vituperation-free zone.

*essay’n? Oh man, I apologize. I have no excuse, except that it’s nearly 2 am and my brain is toast.

9 Responses to “What’s The Meaning of All This?”

  1. durdlin September 16, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    And “apogee” is the opposite of “perigee” and is also the name of the software company that produced my favourite childhood computer game, Commander Keen.

    Also, what is “the GRE”? We don’t have that in Australia.

    And another also, never apologise for puns or word play. That was delightful!

    • Oh My Words! September 16, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

      Apogee? Really? Huh! Well, see, I’ve learned another vocab word thanks to you! cheers! 🙂 The GRE is the standardized test you generally need to take as an entrance requirement for Grad school. It. Sucks. (Or some fancy-schmancy word that is a synonym for sucks.)

      Oh, and as if you weren’t already cool, being in Australia, I love that you love my pun!

  2. Ash September 17, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    I’m studying for the GRE right now as well, but I’ve spent a lot more time on math and not a lot on vocab. I really need to work on vocab. This is my last week before the exam! I’m terrified but I can’t wait for it to be over with.

    • Oh My Words! September 17, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

      That’s probably more practical, actually, to mega-refresh your math knowledge. Good luck with the test! I’m sure you’ll knock it out of the park! Promise you’ll come back and let me know how it went?

  3. tamarapaulin September 17, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    My mother used to refer to the “hoar frost” on trees, but I don’t think it’s a common term. Now that I know what hoary means, it all makes sense! Trees, covered in frost, can look hoary! Thus, we can say, “That tree looks hoary! Look how it’s dressed!”

    • Oh My Words! September 17, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

      Of course! Those hoary, hoary trees! 😛 haha

  4. Wobbly Words September 18, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    After I move up to Washington state I learned the term “hoar frost” too – although someone recently told me it is spelled “hore” but they were probably just wrong. Still, based on the “hoar frost” I would have thought hoary meant something along the lines of “clings like a plague” or “monopolizes the total surface area of its victim” …I think there are some connections to be made there!

    Good luck with the exam!!!! (all of you!)

  5. fancifulnonsense December 30, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    Some words should simply mean what they sound like (those dang somnambulists just don’t get it!) I’ve always had a hard time with “condone” because it means the opposite of what I think it means since it sounds like “condemn.”
    Thanks for your fun blog! Cheers!


  1. A Story About the Kindness of Strangers and Musical Miracles, Told in Song Titles « Oh My Words! - September 28, 2011

    […] happy. Actually, since I’m supposed to be taking vocabulary steroids in preparation for the GRE, maybe I should be using a better word than happy. Gleeful? Ecstatic? Joyful? Thrilled? Jubilant? […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: