The “Life in Hell” comic strip publishes a list of “Forbidden Words” at the beginning of each year. Here are excerpts from the 2007 list:
Let’s not go there.
Stay the course.
Cut and run.
Good choices. I’d have to add It is what it is.
“Her lips seemed fuller; her cheekbones showed in the softened planes of flesh; even her slightly hooked nose had somehow become less accipitrine than columbaceous …”
Accipitrine is in my Random House — “Of, pertaining to, or belonging to the family Accipitridae, comprising the hawks, Old World vultures, kites, harriers and eagles.” I had to check the OED at the library for columbaceous: “Of the nature of a dove or a pigeon; pertaining to the sub-order Columbacei.”
Jennifer Reed asks, “Have you ever heard the word ‘larapin’ — not sure of the spelling — used to describe something tasty? My mother-in-law uses it, and says a woman who hosted a Dutch-oven cooking show on PBS did too, but no one else I know has ever heard of it.”
Jennifer’s acquaintances must be on the youngish side, like her. Of course, grown-ups such as Jennifer’s mother-in-law and myself are familiar with larruping — or larrupin’, as it’s usually pronounced. The dictionary says it means “exceedingly”: These ribs are larrupin’ good. But I’ve also heard it used to mean “excellent”: These ribs are larrupin’. There’s a verb too, older and possibly the source of the adjective. Larrup means “beat”: I’ll larrup you good if you don’t stay away from my ribs.
We discussed the proper use of chutzpah the other day. Since then, a political operative for Karl Rove and the Republican National Committee has accused Sen. Mark Pryor of excessive partisanship. That’s chutzpah.