Hard Words to Spell

I care about proper spelling. My wife is a good speller. Her mother is an Excellent spellist – a master of the spelling arts. But not me. Yet, I care. So since 2013, whenever I’ve had to look up a word because I was – stumped – I made a note of it.

If you know an orthographer who thinks they are All That, feel free to quiz them with my list. I take no pride in its length, and hope that you and yours can find strength in my ignorance.

Subpoena: If you want me to tell you where all these bananas came from, you will have to serve me with a subpoena.

Parliamentary: The one procedure that comes with its own anesthetic is parliamentary procedure.

Karaoke: She said she would never sing into a karaoke machine, but when her friends sang with her, she found it kind of fun.

Connecticut: People from Rhode Island think of Connecticut the way normal people think about Texas.

Anonymously: If you are going to post long screeds about the importance of bravery, don’t do it anonymously.

Cartilage: My friend Julie used to gross people out in high school by demonstrating that she was born without any cartilage in her nose.

Worcestershire sauce: If you want to add complexity to any egg dish, or even macaroni and cheese, add a touch of Worcestershire sauce.

Loquacious: If you like great conversation, but find yourself a lazy conversationalist, find some fun loquacious friends to hang out with.

Spontaneity: Although our dates lack careful planning, they have an abundance of spontaneity.

Piranha: He was very pleased with himself for designing a suit specifically for smuggling roe until he fell into a tank of piranha.

Precocious: When your kid painted his sleeping grandfather with poster paint, he was not being precocious, he was being a jerk.

Mischievous: When my kid painted his sleeping grandfather with poster paint, he was not being a jerk, he was being mischievous.

Kaleidoscope: That mirrored cylinder with loose colored objects reminds me of a kaleidoscope.

Presbyterian: Shlomo Mishkin and Frances O’Malley get strange looks when they order cheeseburgers on Friday nights, even though they are both Presbyterian.

Kielbasa: You can tell the quality of a sausage maker by the spiciness of his kielbasa.

Connoisseurs: While ordinary people pay twenty cents for ramen noodles, the true connoisseurs will pay upwards of 75 cents for the top quality brands.

Pomegranate: Because of Greek Mythology, when I visit a city I hate, I will never eat pomegranate seeds there.

Denizen: If you reach a state of no-mind while staying at my friend Pete’s house, you are a very Zen Berendzen denizen.

Surveillance: I will let you put me under constant surveillance, but only on the condition you give me a new hat for my avatar and a virtual badge.

Samaritan: There ain’t no rest for the wicked, but it isn’t like Samaritans get a good night’s sleep either.

Renaissance: My friend Andy does both math AND computer science, a true Renaissance man!

Dilettante: My enemy Philippe can’t make up his mind whether to do math or computer science, a worthless dilettante.

Compilation: I thought we were going to have coffee and get to know each other, as opposed to having me sit through a compilation of your petty grievances.

Hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids refer to a condition where the veins in the lower rectum and around the anus are swollen, dilated and inflamed.

Souvenir: If you get your hemorrhoids removed surgically, it is considered eccentric to ask the surgeon for a souvenir.

Proselytizes: The pesky preacher proselytizes pedantically.

Silhouette: I remember the day that I noticed my silhouette looked the same as Alfred Hitchcock’s.

Euphemism: In Minnesota, the phrase “That’s different” is a euphemism for “it sucks.”

Curiosity: When conversing with someone with whom you disagree, try listening from a place of curiosity.

Pursue: If the thing they took is valuable, and they are slower and weaker than you are, then you should pursue them.

Paraphernalia: Baking bread requires only four ingredients, but dear Lord I’ve acquired a lot of paraphernalia!

Pleiades: If I had seven sisters, I would refer to them as the Pleiades, and they probably would be annoyed at me for doing so.

Irreparable: When I leaned back and accidentally fell on top of Francie’s playpen, the damage was irreparable.

Obstinate: When I refused to tell the campus preacher that I “sensed” God, he said I was just being obstinate.

Campanile: I like to walk the dog by the campanile and remember being young.

Daiquiri: In high school, I had a friend who did not drink alcohol and was judgemental of people who did, but she drank banana daiquiris because she liked them.

Pompous: Moleskine notebooks are pompous, but so am I, so it’s cool.

Wasabi: The only time I’ve had to close my eyes during a movie was when someone on Jackass snorted wasabi.

Masseuse: I cannot imagine a professional masseuse ever wanting for friends.

Reservoir: I have no idea how water gets from the reservoir to my kitchen faucet.

Vinaigrette: Oh this low-cal raspberry vinaigrette is just as good as bleu cheese dressing, yep, yep, yep.

Grandiloquent: I’m normally plain-spoken and ordinary, but I do have my grandiloquent moments.

Unctuous: When the kindly old man told me a story that reeked of smugness and false earnestness, I realized that I had accidentally approached Unctuous Remus.

Payos / Peyos: After my mother told me my beard looked silly, I shaved it off and grew payos.

Doula: My sister thought SHE was so cool having a midwife when she was pregnant, but I am cooler because I have a doula.