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Words, Jan. 12



Thanks to recent articles in the newspaper, I now know what to call a person from the Ivory Coast, should I ever bump into one:

"Force out Ivorian, nations are urged." It's pronounced i-VOR-e-an.

I would have guessed Ivory Coaster, and I kind of like the sound of that, possibly because it reminds me of the old '50s singing group, The Coasters. They were more ebony than ivory, I think.

Jim von Tungeln writes:

"I was wondering if you might join a group seeking to have the legislature assess a $500 fine per person for each use of the word 'awesome' more than once a month? We could sure build some roads and bridges with the proceeds."

Sign me up. Actually, I thought awesome had topped out a few years back, when it first made the List of Banished Words published annually by Lake Superior State University in Michigan, but apparently it refuses to go quietly.

The latest list of overused words has just been released. Epic is on there, and one contributor says, "Standards for using 'epic' are so low, even 'awesome' is embarrassed."

At the top of the "overused" list is viral, described as "a linguistic disease of a term that must be quarantined." Viral might be used legitimately, though, in reference to the new speaker of the House, John Boehner, who looks as if a virus has turned him a funny color. I've come up with a nickname for Boehner in the event that he becomes a tyrannical sort of speaker. (As he probably will. He's a Republican.) We could call him The Orange Crush. I'll have to insist that I be given credit — and a quarter — each time the name is used. Man cannot live by roads and bridges alone.

LSSU also banishes Mama Grizzly, but before it goes, I'd like to see a horror movie called "Mama Grizzly Meets Octomom." Music by The Ivory Coasters.

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