The Cure for Fancy Words

In response to Judy Dykstra-Brown’s poem using oodles of impressive words, I offer the experience of Ben Franklin, an episode that led to deep contrition, when he tried to show himself wise. My apologies if you’ve read this before.

At one point in Ben Franklin’s youth he became enchanted with impressive-sounding words. One day he told his mother, “I’ve imbibed an acephalous mollusc.”

She gasped. Thinking he’d eaten some poison she promptly dosed him with a foul-tasting concoction that made him vomit. The poor boy retched for hours. Once his stomach was settled again, he told his mother all he’d done was eaten an oyster.

“You naughty boy, scaring the wits out of me like that!” And she gave him a good thrashing.

He says this experience cured him of his liking for pomposity; that day he decided he’d never again use fancy words when simple ones would do.


11 thoughts on “The Cure for Fancy Words

  1. HAHA! I laughed so hard to this. I’ve had the same experience but with my friends. They thought I was alienated or worse- no thrashing included, instead they bought me a meal.

    They told me these exact same words, “Hindi ka na naman yata kumain no? (You’ve skipped meals again, don’t you?)”… By the way, Thank you for sharing this. Have a nice day Christine. It’s nice to find your blog. What a throwback.


      • Surely did, lol. I’d probably do the same thing whenever I have the time. I haven’t been reading the dictionary for a while and it’s bothering me every time I had to make an essay at school. I feel a bit rusted- like a lot!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Well, the M-W quiz I took was about if people called you bezonian, sniptious or psychagogic, would you be flattered or insulted? And it does appear I’d be flattered when I should be insulted and insulted when I should be flattered. (Tee-hee! My Spell-checker doesn’t know them, either.) So this is really a course in human relations. 😉

      And if a waiter tells you their soup is geusioleptic, you should order it — it has a pleasant flavor. I would have gagged. Haven’t you any geusioleptic tonic for me? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Old Ben was a pretty smart cookie. I love words, big words and little words, but I try not to use a fancy one where a simple one gets the job done. Sometimes, though the lesser-known word is just to good to pass up. Like “bloviate.” I love that word.

    Liked by 1 person

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