Darn

Darn: (adj) a more proper version of the word “damn.”

Anything that’s worth a “darn” should be worth a “damn.”

Anything that requires a “shoot” might be better stated with a “shit.”

The problem is not whether the words are profane.

It’s about whether the words are appropriate.

Being unable to find your keys in the morning isn’t worth a “damn, fucking shit-to-hell.”

But seeing an evil done to another human being requires more incrimination than “darn you, jerk.”

We just don’t seem to understand that evil isn’t spoken or enacted, but rather, reveals the intention of our heart.

That means you could be complimenting someone but you’re so insincere that you might as well have criticized them.

The words should match.

You don’t become a better person by saying “darn.”

But you do become a better person by having fewer and fewer people that you want to damn.

 

Crux

Crux: (n) a vital or decisive element (often in the phrase “the crux of the matter”)

Tossed off as a comment by a pundit on any one of a hundred new shows:

“This needs to be taken care of. It is the crux of the matter.”

I don’t know whether the word “crux” is a current one or not. Sometimes I am sympathetic to the younger generation’s unwillingness to adopt language from the past. Other times I want to scream at them to buy a history book or a dictionary.

But I, for one, am very careful about using the word.

Crux is one of those odd terms that is lifted directly from the Latin and placed into our lingo.

In Latin, the word “crux” means cross. And cross is normally associated with one situation and a single individual. It was the form of execution used by the Romans at the behest of the Jewish Council, to kill off Jesus of Nazareth.

So even though the young Nazarene spent his life healing, loving, challenging, organizing and believing, he has become known for the “crux (cross) of his matter.”

A man of peace reflected upon as a criminal hanging on a tree.

So as I look at the climate of our society today—considering the crux of the matter—I wonder what our cross is. What will we be known for?

We certainly want to be recognized for our skill in changing the oil in our car or our delicious recipe for the potato salad we bring to the family reunion each year.

But do we get to choose?

Would Jesus of Nazareth actually have chosen a cross as a symbol of his life?

The crux of America is three-fold:

  1. We allowed slavery to exist for 350 years and bigotry for another century and a half.
  2. We stole our country from the Native Americans, who didn’t own it either, but certainly had squatter’s rights.

And finally:

  1. What will be the crux of our matter going forward? Will it be world domination or the inability to manage our own affairs with grace and aplomb, stumbling our way off the historical stage?

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Cross My Heart and Hope to Die

Cross my heart and hope to die: (v) to attest to the truth of something

The human race is known for two things: first, being created in the image of God; and second, being a bunch of goddamn liars.

Within the elevation of these two bracing points, we are suspended between heaven and Earth.

Because of this, when we need to express our deepest sincerity to others, we don’t seem capable of just saying, “Yes, this is true,” or “No, it is not.”

We fear that our human audience, being fully aware of the vicious nature of deceit which inhabits us all, will just naturally assume that we are one of the “Fibber McGees.”

So we have introduced words, like “sincerely, honestly” and “trust me” into our language, hoping that in doing so, the true depth of our veracity will shine through.

It doesn’t.

So over our history, we’ve initiated other thoughts to try to prove that we are on the level. Basically, we’ve started swearing. Not profanity. No—deep-rooted promises to back up our premises.

  • “I swear by my mother’s grave.”
  • “I’ll swear on a stack of Bibles.”
  • “I swear by my pinky finger.”

Or, “Cross my heart and hope to die.”

I guess this last one sounded effective to someone, thinking that threatening to remove one’s life from Earth might keep us from lying and cheating.

Of course, in reality, nothing prevents us from stretching the truth until it breaks and falls at our feet like useless trash.

So I think the suggestion that came along—to swear, make huge statements and crossing our heart and hoping to die—should probably just be replaced by a more old-fashioned dodge:

“Now what was the question?”

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Could and Couldn’t

Could: (v) expression of possibility

Couldn’t: (v) unable

I don’t think anybody wants to be negative.

Some folks have just found it a safer position because they have surmised that most things fail. I’m also sure there are individuals who are negative because funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
they want to appear mature and cautious.

But the trouble with the two words, could and couldn’t, is that neither one allows for the possibility that something has a great chance.

Even when we venture out and say, “I could win,” we’re allowing ourselves an awful lot of room for explanation if things fall apart.

And if we go ahead and say, “I couldn’t,” we close the door on the adventure completely.

I think could and couldn’t sum up the human race.

We are never so positive that we move with great confidence, ease and style into resolution, and we certainly seem better suited for retreating or rejecting.

Is there another word?

“Might” doesn’t work. That’s really uncertain.

“Should” seems judgmental.

“Would” sounds like it’s ready to make an immediate excuse upon any drawback.

And there’s just something downright arrogant about saying “I will.” There are too many variables in life that we do not control for us to guarantee the result.

So what is the best situation?

I am certainly tired of living in a world of “could” and “couldn’t.” I don’t want to embrace the negativity that goes into being cautious with “could” and dark with “couldn’t.”

Language trips us up because it describes the actual condition of our internal emotions. Eventually, our tongues will confess what is deeply brewing in our hearts.


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Coarse

Coarse: (adj) rude, crude, or vulgar.

Fortunately for the human race, if for some reason they do not want to deal with your message or the impact of your words, they can either critique your style or claim that your language is coarse and profane.

I have spent the major part of my professional career trying to determine the words that best describe what I’m trying to communicate, and then attempting to slide those cherished words into the body of my work, without being shunned for foul usage.

Honestly, when describing an atrocity and the need for change, the word “darn” does not replace “damn.”

For many years I was critiqued for saying “crap”–but “bullcrap” is not as energetic as “bullshit.”

The purpose of speech is to communicate. The goal of the written word is to impact. And the mission of the visual is to enlighten.

They must be permitted to do their jobs without being censored, or even-tempered.

I happen to agree that the word f-u-c-k is rarely necessary to communicate and certainly should not be overused as an adjective or an adverb.

But even that stipulation carries a bit of fuddy-duddy, which is not necessarily applicable in the pursuit of waking up the sleepy masses.

Having survived a lifetime which has included living in a society where the word “pregnant” could not be uttered on television, to now living in an Internet generation, where temperance is disdained, I am more than happy to put guidelines on my own soul–using an economy of words to justify the heart of the story, without coarsely tainting it with unnecessary emotions which threaten to condemn it.

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Cesspool

Cesspool: (n) container for the temporary storage of liquid waste

Blather.

Defined by this humble writer as language which is accumulated in large clumps without any regard for validity or truth.

Synonyms: politics, religion, the Internet.

Blather.

One of the signs of blather is the overuse of terminology which supposedly has gained universal acceptance, even though it has no rational moorings.

For instance, “America is a cesspool.”

Although countless writers on the World Wide Web insist that our nation is a storage container for liquid waste, this is completely erroneous.

Actually, there’s a lot of solid waste out there, too.

 

 

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Bummer

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Bummer: (n) word describing the misfortune of something or someone

It is the misfortune of the average man or woman to be cursed to a status of being out-of-step simply because by the time cool words, cool clothes and cool ideas float down to the masses where they’re accepted by the common populace, they are already passé.

So if you find yourself, for instance, using the word “bummer” in an attempt to be “cool with the kids,” you will be at least fifteen years behind the times.

I don’t know if it’s even possible to escape this lingering tragedy without developing your own hip language and trying to sell it to your friends and family in your everyday conversations.

For instance, a bummer could become a “squat.”

When asked by those surrounding you, “What’s a squat?” you could reply, “Oh, that’s just my new groovy word for what used to be boss, which was bummer.”

So in one sentence you develop a reputation for being cutting-edge by having your own vernacular, and also letting them know that the word bummer is somewhere in the “Street Jargon Hall of Fame.”

If this scenario seems unlikely or perhaps cumbersome, you probably will be one of those people who goes to the shoe store and notices that the Crocs that are so popular are on sale, so you picked up four pair–never realizing that the reason they were marked down is because they are now out of style.

 

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