Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Monday, June 15, 2009

Words the NYTimes uses that nobody else does. Just for fun I decided to see whether I use any of these.

I used "sui generis" in reference to a blog that bears that name. (It's a good blog-- I used to have it on my sidebar, and I'll put it back next time I'm revising it.) Anyway, I know what sui generis means.

Oddly, "solipsistic" doesn't show up. I must use "begs the question" instead. "Louche" is another one I don't use. I'm not sure I know what it actually means, and I'll bet Maureen Dowd probably doesn't either. I use "laconic" less than I'd have thought. I doubt that comes as a surprise to anyone who knows me. Hard to believe that I never described Dick Cheney as "saturnine"-- I guess that will have to go on my To Do list. I know what "antediluvian" means, and I can even pronounce it, but I don't use it. "Epistemological" shows up, although "shibboleths" does not. I had to look "penury" up. I was pretty sure about "sumptuary", but I looked it up too. "Schadenfreude" I use all the time. I know I've used "peripatetic", because a secretary once asked me what it meant. I haven't used it here, and I'm not sure why. You'd think I'd use "abstruse", too, but I don't. "Parlous" is just showing off. Is it a long "a" or a short one? If I can't pronounce it, I'm not going to use it, and I've never heard anyone say "parlous" aloud. "Enervating" and "adenoidal" are absent, but not "feckless". "Solipsism" is cheating. Put the adjective on the list, or put the noun on the list. No wonder nobody uses "begs the question" correctly.

I'm not surprised that "ersatz" is absent, but it's a word I like. I used "fealty" in this post about the Steve Forbert Game. I use "sanguine" in conversation all the time. I don't know why it doesn't get used on Outside Counsel. I'm going up to 22 just to mention that "sartorial" is no stranger.

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