Words I Miss

I don’t know what gets the blame—political correctness, pop culture, declining understanding of the subtleties of language, or just time—but I miss some words.  I wish people used them more often. 

Spat—and the past of other verbs that end with “-it.”  Instead of “spat,” I hear only “spit” used for any tense.  “He spat on me,” lends an air of dignity that “he spit on me” lacks.


Spittle—another victim of the ubiquitous verb.  Spittle is a noun.  “The umpire recognized the foreign substance as the pitcher’s spittle.” 


Lend—a verb eaten by its noun cousin, loan.  “Lend me a dollar,” says the intelligent young man. 


Grand—Holden Caulfield destroyed this fine, old word.  “We had a grand time at the party.” 


Shindig—still pops up now an then, but not enough.   Too many parties; not enough shindigs.


Shenanigans—once used to describe inappropriate behavior; this excellent word exists only on the hunter green awnings of semi-Irish sports bars in every city in America.  Let’s take it down from the awning and into our conversations.


Gal—The other night, I used the word “gal” in a sentence, and my wife asked, “how old are you?”  Gal has a cool, Sinatra sound to it.  “I saw Joey out with some gal last night,” piques interests much faster than “I saw Joey with a girl” or “woman” or “chick” or “on a date” or any other word you’d care to substitute.  “Gal” says as much about the speaker as it does the object.  People who say “gal” drink scotch and smile a lot.


Tomfoolery—What a fine, fine word.  Tomfoolery will get you hurt, while shenanigans will hurt others.