Superfluous Lexicon #10

Six words that I don't need to know, but now I do.

Zack S. Westby Zack S. West

In honor of the Superfluous Lexicon graduating to double digits (feel free to celebrate this epic anniversary by posting your Lexicon memories in the comments), and to show you that "we're not so different you and I", I polled my friends to see if they could come up with six words that even I didn't know. Fortunately for all of us, they did. So here we are: six words that I didn't previously know, but now I do, and you're about to also.


Nobody would blame you for hearing the word penurious and thinking someone just said penniless. They're practically homonyms, if you have a risp. And, amusingly enough, penurious actually means poverty stricken. So it sounds like a word that happens to fall within it's scope. If you are penniless, then you are certainly penurious, but being penurious doesn't necessarily mean you have no pennies. You might have a couple. But not many, I guess is the point. Obviously, this word is pretty relevant to (statistically) quite a bit of my audience, so while it won't save your house, you'll be the classiest hobo in your alleyway.

Example Sentence: America's biggest problem is that everyone's penurious but no one can spell it.


I don't know how I never learned this word. I have been looking for a word that means stubborn and actually sounds like beating your face against a wall. Well, for others on a similar quest, obdurate is that word. The official definition is stubbornly refusing to change your opinion, and when someone is doing that, don't you want to yell a word like obdurate at them? If you hit obdurate with a steel pipe, it would break in half. If you pushed obdurate with a bulldozer, you would end up with a dented bulldozer. If an unstoppable force collided with obdurate, it's not even a question- the force would just stop.

Example Sentence: I'm not obdurate. I just happen to be right.


So, despite the fact that I don't know this word, and nobody else I asked knew it off the top of their head either, anosognosia is something we've all probably had. Hell, my spell checker doesn't even know this word. But it's a real word, and it's a condition where you can't, or refuse to, believe you are afflicted with a condition that you are in fact afflicted with. It's kinda like the opposite of hypochondria. I kinda want to make a superhero named Anosognosia who's power is that she ignores the fact that she has cancer, and her nemesis is an old crotchety supervillan named Hypochondria who is just constantly complaining about his imaginary sciatica and fake glaucoma.

Example Sentence: SPOILERS! Anosognosia's nemesis is actually the cancer.


Okay, I have a confession to make. Not all the words I put in the Superfluous Lexicon are truly superfluous. Jejune, however, definitely is. It just means immature or naive. I mean, it's a cool sounding word, and I suppose it's great to break out in a review of Twilight. But if you're reviewing Twilight, that means you read it. If you knew the word jejune before you experienced something as jejune as Twilight, you probably don't anymore. (I am convinced that my little sister has convinced me to read Twilight multiple times, but it was so bad that, like the Silence from Doctor Who, I forgot the moment I finished.)  By the way, I think you have a little liquefied brain on your shoulder.

Example Sentence: What's the most juvenile month in France? Je June. (I'm so sorry. I couldn't help myself.)


And if we're talking about really superfluous words, why not bring palimpsest into it? Because a palimpsest is a piece of scroll or parchment where the writing has been scratched off so that you can use it again. The moment computers were invented, this word became the most useless word in the world. I suppose, if you're an architect or artist, and you use those sweet Mars white erasers that I loved to chew on as a baby, it might come into play once in a while, but it would probably take a lot of effort just to remember it. "Whatcha got there, Frank?" "Oh, well, I didn't like the design I was doing, so I decided to turn my partially drawn building into a… shit… I literally only phrased the sentence this way to use this word. Hold on a sec, lemme get the dictionary."

Example Sentence: No, seriously, what was the word again?

Riiiiiiiiight. Palimpsest.


Okay, seriously? Are you kidding me? Callithump is a word? It sounds like something Lewis Carroll stole from the meth addict next door for Jaberwocky 2-whump: Electric Callithump. It sounds like something a celebrity boxer would name his newborn child the day after he literally got the sense knocked out of him. Or maybe the worst fetish ever. Actually, callithump is just a word for a particularly noisy parade. So every parade except the annual "The Who's Tommy presents Parade for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind." Which is extra funny, because none of them can enjoy it.

Example Sentence: Yaw-hee Callithiump who'd a thunk sitting drunk on a parade float in Mexico. Ah well, what a chump, well my head got a bump when all of this raucous noise was going on everywhere because parades are loud and obnoxious and I hate them.