I had several ideas for writing this morning, but then I came across this word. “Ul·tra·crep·i·dar·i·an.”
Of course, I love words, love finding new words, and I had to drop everything and look this one up. If that was the goal of the person using this word in a comment on a web posting, well Mission Accomplished.
Before I checked, just looking at the word makes me think of something big or extreme (ultra), and something creeping (crep – the Urban Dictionary says creps are shoes). “Dar,” by itself, is used as an acronym, but has little meaning of its own that I could find. “Darian” is the Greek name meaning “gift,” but I doubt there is any hidden gift here. And the suffix “ian,” by itself, means to have the same qualities of something.
Well, the word, all put together, means “expressing opinions on matters outside the scope of one’s knowledge or expertise,” and if you didn’t have to look that up, well kudos for you. 😊
I continued searching for the origin of this word, and according to a Roman tale, it did have to do with shoes. It seems an artist, Apelles, would place his work in a public place and then hide to eavesdrop on the people critiquing his work. Not happy with comments about the shoes on one of the subjects in his painting, and subsequent attempts to correct them, the artist came out of hiding and shouted at his critic, who was a shoemaker, “ne supra crepidam sutor iudicaret” — in Latin meaning, “judge not above the sandal, shoemaker.” “Ultra Crepidam” is a modified version of this quote.
So you see, the derivation of this word is as lengthy as the word itself.
I must say that, in the past, I’ve been a fan of certain abstruse words, long sentences, and longer paragraphs. Those things worked in the legal arena. But they’re not so impressive in the blogosphere.
Most people don’t have time, or don’t want to spend the time, looking up obscure words and their usage. You won’t keep their attention if you drone on and on trying to sound important. And come on, people don’t really talk like this.
When we’re blogging, unless we’re writing dialog or fiction, we’re kind of talking to each other.
People need short coherent statements. Pauses and breaks to come up for air. And no one is usually impressed when people try to make themselves look smarter than everyone else in the room.
The subject matter, where this person used this word, had to do with computer programs that “fingerprint” our computers based upon our web usage. The concern was privacy. And the commenter, expressing his opinion, was trying to criticize the author of an article on this subject that was published in the Washington Post.
Somehow, I kind of doubt this guy was more of an authority on the subject matter than the author of the article, and I think this kind of boomeranged on him.
Now before I extremely creep my way out of here like a cockroach this morning, any thoughts? What do you think of using big words? Long sentences? Lengthy paragraphs? Or the opposite?
How do you like to write? And how do you like to read?
Photo: The Pandora Moth. It was fun watching these guys in the Northwest wilderness, but they are named, I assume, after the legend because their larva are so destructive that they can decimate a pine forest.
According to Greek mythology, after Prometheus stole fire from heaven, Zeus sent Pandora to Prometheus’s brother, Epimetheus, and Pandora then opened the jar or box left in Epimetheus’s care, thus releasing many evils, such as sickness and death upon the world.
Now I’m not trying to imply that the use of big, ostentatious, words are evil, and they are certainly not the bearers of sickness and death, but they may just kill a conversation. 🙂
* You probably caught the fact that I was poking a little fun at myself here too – using words like abstruse, and ostentatious . . .
** And I just had another word-use thought. I’ve used the word “decimate” above inappropriately. As I learned from blogging friend Stuart Aken, this word really means to kill one in ten. Over time, it’s meaning has become distorted to encompass a large number of people or heavy casualties. Here is Stuart’s summary and links to all of his informative posts titled The Write Word.