Originally written on October 17, 2008
I was having a conversation with someone and they kept using the word "irregardless," and I was wondering whether I could make fun of them for using such a stupid word (answer: yes).
When Mirriam-Webster actually has to include in the definition, "yes, this really is a word," that provides further evidence to me that it is ridiculous.
You know what is an awesome word, though? It is "defenestration," which means "a throwing of a person or thing out of a window." What a delightfully unnecessary craft of the English language!
Dude 1: Dude, how did you break your leg?
Dude 2: Aw, man, I was defenestrated!
Dude 1: Woah! Wait, what did you say?
Dude 2: I was defenestrated, dude!
Dude 1: What the heck are you talking about?
Dude 2: It means thrown out of a window, man, look it up!
Dude 1: Well why didn't you just say you were thrown out of a window?
Dude 2: That would be a rather pedestrian way of putting it.
So it begs the question, were a lot of people and things being thrown out of windows back in 1620 when the word originated, or was it simply a slow day at ye olde linguists office?
Brewster: Hey Winslow, you know how every once in a while, some guy gets hisself thrown out the window of that pub down the road?
Winslow: Yeah, I guess. I think that happened to Edward Tilly a few times.
Brewster: Right. We should have a word for that.
Winslow: Okay, how about "Getting the Tilly?"
Brewster: Well, that's not so much a word, but more of a phrase, I think.
Winslow: Ah yes, quite right. What about "panethrustification?"
Brewster: Better, but I think perhaps we ought to go back to the Latin.
Winslow: Oh, very well. Let's see here...the Latin word for window is "fenestra." Let's go with "fenestratillied."
Brewster: Very good, Winslow. You've done it again. Let's call Noah Webster.
Winslow: Hey Noah!!
Okay, so Noah Webster wasn't born until 1758, but if I had said "Robert Cawley" you'd be thinking, "Hmm, Robert Cawley did write the first English alphabetical dictionary in 1604, but since he was born in 1538, surely he would have been dead by 1620. Why, that joke makes no sense at all!" And then I'd be like, "Yeah, I'm just a hack." So I went with Webster and called it good.