I pride myself on being a word nerd, so my daughter decided to quiz me. Here's some examples from her list:
I'm going to out myself. The two that stumped me: conflagration (a large destructive fire) and lugubrious (mournful, dismal). My daughter was thrilled to have stumped me since just this week she asked me to stop using the words catawampus (although I love askew and wonky as well), discombobulated, and fastidious. She said they made me sound uncool and nerdy. What she doesn't know is that I embrace uncool and nerdy when it comes to words.
But back to her point about old English. Whatever happened to the beauty and complexity of the English language? I know using too many "big words" can come across as pretentious, but sometimes the bigger words do more justice. Pretentious has a beauty that showing off doesn't. Oh, or ostentatious. Yummy.
Since I'm using Mark Twain to illustrate my love of the language, it only seems fitting to share some of his musings...
"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream."
"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please."
"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."
"A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read."
"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."Read more at BrainyQuote.
What's your favorite big word? How do you feel about using "old English" in writing?