Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Since moving into the world of cubicles and bureacracy, I've heard a lot of new and creative word usage. One of my coworkers likes to verbalize adjectives that derive from perfectly good other verbs ("We must resolute this problem!"..."Why did you nomenclate that account as you did?"). Another is fond of redundancies ("But that department's got no income coming in!") . Still another just makes things up as she goes along ("Maybe we should re examine the pee-ohh lization process in that department. " - pee ohh lization being the process of writing up purchase orders, I believe. Mind you, I'm not certain. This is the first time I've heard it and I can't find it in the dictionary.)

One day, my boss and I were making fun of someone's infliction of the term irregardless on us. Another coworker, remembering how grating this made up term was to us, found this:

2 entries found for irregardless.

adv. Nonstandard
[Probably blend of irrespective, and regardless.]
Usage Note: Irregardless is a word that many mistakenly believe to be correct usage in formal style, when in fact it is used chiefly in nonstandard speech or casual writing. Coined in the United States in the early 20th century, it has met with a blizzard of condemnation for being an improper yoking of irrespective and regardless and for the logical absurdity of combining the negative ir- prefix and -less suffix in a single term. Although one might reasonably argue that it is no different from words with redundant affixes like debone and unravel, it has been considered a blunder for decades and will probably continue to be so.

adv : regardless; a combination of irrespective and regardless sometimes used humorously


I'm no policewoman of the English language; far from it. I just prefer that made-up words be left for humorous purposes and Standard English be used for the workaday world. That's all. To show my good faith, here's one of my favorites:


'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wade;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree.
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came wiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

-Lewis Carroll

1 comment:

Nick said...

I knew a guy in college who constantly used the word orientate. It pissed me off to no end... since I thought using orient was a more proper word to use... and at the very least didn't sound so hokey. Actually I thought for a long time that it was a made up word. As it turns out... it is a legitmate word, and is synonymous with a verb usage of orient. Still pisses me off though.