During the past few months I have noticed something strange in everyday conversation. There is a very, and I mean very, popular word out there that is used way more than it should be. That highfalutin word: Absolutley!
I started paying attention to the use of the word in my own conversations and especially in the media. I hear the word being used at least a dozen times a day. The word rolls out of the mouth like a waddling penguin, it is a somewhat awkward word. So why do so many people so consistently and persistently use the word?
It is a stress word. An intensifier. It allows a person who agrees with a thought or suggestion to unequivocally avow his support for that idea. Can I please use your washroom? ABSOLUTELY. Completely and without qualification you can use my crapper.
Should we go to Wal-Mart today? ABSOLUTELY! You’re perfectly right, let’s go to Wal-Mart. This intensifier word is definitely and without a doubt used way too often. Thoroughly, wholly, utterly and consummately an over used word. You are absolutely right, the car needs an oil change. Whatever happened to exactly, that’s right and that under used word YES.
Let me make one thing absolutely clear, if you keep your ears open during an average day, you will absolutely hear the word absolutely used at least ten times.
Below is an example of the proper use of Absolutely
- Canuck: A slang term for “Canadian” in the U.S. and Canada. It sometimes means “French Canadian” in particular, especially when used in the Northeast of the United States and in Canada. Adopted as the name of the National Hockey League team in Vancouver. Sometimes jokingly pronounced can-OOK (not used this way for the hockey team, aka “the Nucks”).
- chesterfield: a sofa or couch. Used somewhat in Northern California; obsolete in Britain (where it originated). Sometimes (as in classic furnishing terminology) refers to a sofa whose arms are the same height as the back, but more usually to any couch or sofa. The more international terms sofa and couch are also used; among younger generations in the western and central regions, chesterfieldis largely in decline.
- Chinook: a warm, dry wind experienced along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. Most common in winter and spring, a chinook wind can result in a rise in temperature of 20 C° (36 F°) in a quarter of an hour. In Alaska, the word is pronounced with an affricate ch instead of the fricative shsound as used in Canada, and means an extremely wet, warm, constant southwesterly, which actually is the same weather pattern as the drying wind that it becomes when it hits Alberta. The use of the word to mean a wind is from the Chinook Jargon, “i.e., the wind from the direction of the country of the Chinooks” (the lower Columbia River), as transmitted to the Prairies by the francophone employees of the North West Company, hence the Frenchified pronunciation east of the Rockies. A Chinook in BC is also one of the five main varieties of salmon, and can also mean the Chinook Jargon, although this older usage is now very rare (as is the Jargon itself).
- concession road: in southern Ontario and southern Quebec, one of a set of roads laid out by the colonial government as part of the distribution of land in standard lot sizes. The roads were laid out in squares as nearly as possible equal to 1,000 acres (4 km²). Many of the concession roads were known as sidelines, and in Ontario many roads are still called lines.
- deke: A word derived from decoyand used to decribe a fake or feint intended to deceive a defensive player, often drawing that player out of position, usually in hockey, as in “I deked him out and scored.”
- double-double: a cup of coffee from Tim Horton’s with two creams and two sugars
- eaves troughs(also Northern & Western U.S.): grooves or channels that attach to the underside of the roof of a house to collect rainwater. Known to most Americans and to Britons as gutters.
- eh: a spoken interjection to ascertain the comprehension, continued interest, agreement, etc., of the person or persons addressed (“That was a good game last night, eh?”). May also be used instead of “huh?” or “what?” meaning “please repeat or say again.” Frequently mis-represented by Americans as A, or hey. May have its origins from the French hein, which is pronounced in a very similar fashion.
- garburator: a garbage disposal unit located beneath the drain of a kitchen sink.
- homo milk: homogenized milk, particularly with a fat content greater than 2%, usually 3.25%. Referred to in the U.S. as whole milk.
- humidex: measurement used by meteorologists to reflect the combined effect of heat and humidity.
- hydro: (except Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Maritimes) commonly as a synonym for electrical service. Many Canadian provincial electric companies generate power from hydroelectricity, and incorporate the term “Hydro” in their names: Toronto Hydro, Hydro Ottawa, etc. Usage: “Manitoba Hydro… It’s not just a Power Company anymore.”; “How long did you work for Hydro?” “When’s Hydro gonna get the lines back up.”; “The hydro bill is due on the fifteenth.”; “I didn’t pay my hydro bill so they shut off my lights.” Hence hydrofield, a line of electricity transmission towers, usually in groups cutting across a city, and hydro lines/poles, electrical transmission lines/poles.
- joe job: a low-class, low-paying job. Not to be confused with the American term joe job.
- Kokanee: British Columbian name for a species of land-locked salmon (accent on first syllable). Also the name of a popular beer made in the Kootenay district, also known as “Blue Cocaine.”
- Kraft Dinner: Kraft macaroni and cheese. Sometimes called “Krap Dinner” or “KD”.
- loonie: Canadian one dollar coin. Derived from the use of the loon on the reverse.
Newfie, Newf: A colloquial, often derisive term used to describe one who is from Newfoundland and Labrador. Historically used with light humour in “Newfie Jokes”, similar to “Dumb Blonde Jokes”. Use of the word is now considered to be offensive and in very bad taste.
- regular: used to denote a coffee with one cream, one sugar (“I’ll have two double doubles and a regular”)
- runners: running shoes, sneakers, especially in Central Canada. Also used somewhat in Australian English.
- serviette: a small square of cloth or paper used while eating, a napkin. Derives from British English.
- Timbits: a brand name of donut (doughnut) holes made by Tim Hortons that has become a generic term
- toonie: Canadian two dollar coin. Modelled after loonie (q.v.). Also spelled tooney, twooney, twoonie, twonie, or twoney
- tuque: a knitted winter hat, often with a pompon on the crown. Sometimes misspelled “toque”, which is in fact an unrelated type of hat.
- washroom: the general term for what is normally named public toilet or lavatory in Britain. In the U.S. (where it originated) mostly replaced by restroom in the 20th century. Generally used only as a technical or commercial term outside of Canada. The word bathroom is also used; the term toilet is generally considered somewhat indelicate in Canada and is avoided.
You know that word that really should be in the dictionary? Until it actually makes it in, here’s where it goes. Welcome to our collection of user-submitted words.
|shwag : poor quality marijuana…
|Thuggs : imitation Uggs…
|mankini : a man’s bathing suit that looks and fits like a woman’s bikini bottom…
|stroke out : to die from a stroke…
|swaportunity : an opportunity to exchange one thing for another…
prostidude (noun) : a male prostitute : gigolo
slore (noun) : slut : whore
(noun) : a very skinny man
pyramidiot (noun) : a person who believes eccentric or lunatic notions about the Egyptian pyramids
squatch (verb) : to search for the creature known as Sasquatch or Bigfoot
(adjective) : cool : awesome
(noun) : the night before tonight
We saw that movie yesternight.
appstracted (adjective) : distracted by an application on a mobile device
The pedestrian was hit by a car because he was appstracted.
A great tool that Google provides is Google Translate. Here is an example of a phrase:
In Spanish: El gran oso atacó al cazador, pero el cazador se hizo el muerto. Entonces el oso gigante de caca en el cazador y dejar que fuera un gruñido oído chirriar. …
In Russian: Большой медведь напал на охотника, но охотника притворился мертвым. Тогда гигантский медведь выпученными от охотников и отпускает ухо визг рык.
In French: Le grand ours a attaqué le chasseur, mais le chasseur a fait le mort. Alors l’ours géant caca sur le chasseur et laisser hors un grognement oreille crissement.
In Swedish: Den stora björnen attackerade jägaren, men jägaren spelade död. Då jätten björnen bajsat på jägaren och låt ut ett öra skrikande morra.
In Hungarian: A nagy medve megtámadta a vadász, de a vadász játszott halott. Aztán a hatalmas medve pooped a vadász, és hagyja ki a fül csikorgó morog.
And finally in English: The great bear attacked the hunter, but the hunter played dead. Then the giant bear pooped on the hunter and let off an ear screeching growl.
Isn’t that Russian something? I’m changing the term when I don’t understand something from “it all looks Chinese to me” to “it all looks Russian to me.”
Hey Grandpa, put your dentures in and make sure you poltophagy your rutabegas.
to flourish a sword in sword dancing so as to produce a whistling sound
About the Word:
Whiffling may have its origin in the efforts of ancients to clear the dance area of evil spirits. Not every dance area, of course: sword dance areas.
Sword dances – traditional folk dances featuring men and swords – have a long and glorious history. These days, you can see (and hear) whiffling in the circular “guerrilla” dances of Turkey and the Balkans and in the Balkan “rusalia” fertility dance.
to throw violently into the air; especially, to throw (a frog) into the air from the end of a stick
About the Word:
Although it originally involved an unsavory pastime in which sticks were used to hurl frogs into the air, this word has had other meanings as well. For example, one 19th century report refers to a particular horse’s insistence on “spang–hewing” its riders.
(Spang, by the way, is a verb in its own right. It’s mostly used in Scotland and means “throw” or “jump.”)
divination by means of the movements of an ax placed on a post
About the Word:
An ancient means of determining guilt, axinomancy involved balancing an ax on a post, and reading a list of names aloud. If the ax moved at a particular name, that person was deemed guilty.
In another (equally strange) version, a marble was placed on a red–hot ax; the motion of the marble signaled guilt.
#4: Breeches Part
a theatrical role that is regularly or frequently played by an actress in male costume
About the Word:
Men, not women, traditionally wear breeches (a type of short pants), but women, not men, fill the breeches part.
In Shakespeare’s day, male actors played the roles of women; by the mid–17th century, after the Puritan ban on theater had ended, women were playing female parts. The notion of the breeches part reintroduced novelty as women donned pants to play traditionally male roles. A modern–day breeches part is the role of Peter Pan.
thorough chewing of food until it becomes like porridge
About the Word:
Poltophagy was an offshoot of Fletcherism, a health fad of the Victorian era. Nutritionist Horace Fletcher advocated chewing each mouthful 30+ times before swallowing as a method of maximizing health. Adherents of poltophagy were not distracted from dinner conversation by chew–counts, but they nonetheless had their mouths full for much of the meal.
The word poltophagy was coined by a doctor who drew upon the Greek word poltos for his coinage, with the misunderstanding that poltos meant “masticated” or “finely divided.” Poltos, though, means “porridge,” and this etymology has stuck to the modern word.
a writing composed of words not having a certain letter
About the Word:
Lipo– means “lacking; without,” and gram comes from gramma, meaning “letter.”
The most challenging lipogram – a decidedly constrained form of writing – excludes E, the most common letter in English. In 1939, Ernest Vincent Wright published Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 words without using the letter “E.” Below is a lipogram version of “Mary Had A Little Lamb” lacking the letter O (from Peter Blinn, curiousnotions.com):
Mary had a little lamb
The bleached and chalky kind.
And everywhere she went, the lamb
Was rarely left behind.
a person employed to scare off crows
About the Word:
Keeping the crows away was once enough of a task to merit its own occupation name; in the first act of Romeo and Juliet, Benvolio scoffed at the idea of Romeo and his buddies “scaring the ladies like a crowkeeper.”
It was the technology of the scarecrow, presumably, that made the crowkeeper obsolete.
an imaginary large four-legged beast with legs on one side longer than on the other for walking on hillsides
About the Word:
Described as a “near relative of the Whang–Doodle and a distant cousin of the Snipe,” the gyascutus made its first appearance in American newspapers in the 1840s, and has played a minor role in American folklore since then. In one tale, a pair of the critters clung to each other for support as they wended their way to western territories; in other stories, the lopsided gyascutus would topple off hillsides and be unable to stand up again.
The gyascutus (that name – the origin of which is unknown – gives a nod to Latin taxonomy) goes by many other names. One modern incarnation, the Sidehill Gouger, appears in a video game of that name.
#9: Hapax Legomenon
a word or form occurring only once in a document or collection of writings
About the Word:
As obscure as this concept may seem to be, hapax legomenon (from the Greek “something said only once”) has proven quite useful to biblical scholars and those studying ancient writings. Each hapax legomenon is especially difficult to interpret because contextual clues are, by definition, limited.
excessive or wrong use of the sound of the letter m
About the Word:
Roman grammarians seeking to classify vitia (“errors in language”) borrowed this term from the Greek mytakismos (my refers to the letter mu).
The ancients’ interest in categorizing errors gave modern speech therapists and linguists a few other terms for speech errors: rhotacism (“defective pronunciation of the letter r”); iotacism (“excessive use of the letter I or iota or a too frequent repetition of its sounds”); and the more familiar lisp (“imperfect pronunciation of the sibilants /s/ and /z/”).
Winston Churchill once said: “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Not only is the country confusing to figure out, the Russian language looks like it is written in space alien. The map below illustrates this. The Canadian city names written in Russian become quite exotic. The backward letters add to the confusion.
Winnipeg in Russian is Виннипег.
Vancouver in Russian is Ванкувер.
Toronto in Russian is Торонто.
Edmonton in Russian is Эдмонтон. Pronounciation on this one could be difficult.
Montreal in Russian is Монреаль.
Halifax in Russian is Галифакс.
The Russian alphabet (Russian: русский алфавит rússkij alfavít) is a form of the Cyrillic script, developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School. The Russian modern alphabet contains 33 letters.