The Sesquipedalian’s Absolution


The Sesquipedalian’s Absolution

When we use ostentatious words,  most folks are not forgiving,
so the perspicacious reader might have a slight misgiving
and greet such words with sideways looks—a sneer, a frown, a cough—
feeling I pontificate, just trying to show off.
Words like “moon” and “June” and “spoon,” ” flowers” and “zephyrus vapors”
are thought more suitable to poems and literary papers
than words like “perspicacious” which might have made you wary,
but—I, too, had to look it up in the dictionary!!!
If you must extract vengeance, please direct it to its source,
for I rely on daily prompts to help me plan my course.
Words like “and” and “but” and “the,” are words that I might cite,
but you can blame “Ragtag” and “FOWC” for words more erudite!



Words for the day are perspicacious, pontificate, flower and vengeance Here are the links:

24 thoughts on “The Sesquipedalian’s Absolution

  1. Martha Kennedy

    I have an MA in English, taught university writing for 30+ years, and speak several languages. The upshot of all that is that I believe (outside of passing the SAT) language is for communication, resulting in a resounding antipathy toward pretentious verbiage which obfuscates meaning. I think RDP and I might be severing our connection resulting from the proliferation of wanton pedanticism.


  2. Mickey Basden, posting as Billy Mitchell

    It was with great delight that I read your post “The Sesquipedalian’s Absolution”.
    Immediately I raised a metaphorical fist and shouted “I am not alone!”
    Follows here an excerpt from a commentary which I wrote over ten years ago, and recently posted to my blog (“Mickeytator”).
    Thank you, Judy!!

    It was a very short short story. I wrote it in less than thirty minutes, including time for reviews and revisions. I casually shared it with a relative, who has over the years provided valuable criticism of my literary efforts. The commentary that was returned suggested that I was using language that was “too flowery — too elaborate or ornate.”. She mentioned “purple prose”.
    I wasn’t familiar with the phrase. I had to look it up.
    Having learned, in my dotage, to avoid a knee-jerk rejection of criticism, I set about to investigate my deficiency — that I might improve my efforts.
    In context, the question that must be answered is “do I ostentatiously use a vocabulary above what is rightfully mine, in an attempt to impress, or to convey a supposed superiority?”
    This requires a sincere, possibly an humbling, assessment of my intentions.
    Honestly — NO!
    I simply choose from an assortment of synonyms that which most accurately conveys the nuance I intend to communicate.
    And if the verbiage is such that a reader feels that I am snobbishly asserting undeserved superiority, suggesting that he is inferior — so be it.
    Not intended; but if the shoe fits …

    Liked by 1 person

  3. M. Oniker

    Over the last few years I have been surprised by what passes for ostentatious verbiage. My currently vocabulary is probably half of what it was in college days, and so I think I speak rather pedestrianly. Then I get strange looks when using a word over four letters long. (Or, maybe since I use a lot of four-lettered words, folks are just giving me weird looks for not swearing?) I’m some kind of holier-than-thou genius because I know there is a difference between recumbent and incumbent?



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