When I first read the Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, I loved the way Hans would describe the sick people at the sanatorium he is sent to in the Swiss Alps as the “moribund”.
It was the first time I had come across the word and I thought it was a quaint German way of saying someone was “poorly”.
My mother was a bit under the weather at one point while I was reading the book, and a neighbour asked how she was. I decided to use my new word and said she was “moribund”, thinking it was quite fitting. My neighbour clearly knew what the word meant and appeared to be quite shocked and concerned. After I assured him she would be fine, I disappeared back in the house and puzzled over his reaction.
I thought it may have been the word which spooked him so I googled it.
The word “scorcher” came up a while ago as a term for someone who rides fast, typically while in the “scorching position”.
I said at the time I would try to use the word as often as possible, however, I have resolutely failed to do so.
I shall redouble my efforts to use the word at all available opportunities.
I shall also try to use words like resolutely and redouble more often. It makes me sound clever.
The Drew Barrymore teacher character in Donnie Darko says something along the lines of the two most beautiful words in the English language are ‘Cellar Door’. I never quite got that. But they are mentioned in a Lemonheads song, ‘It’s a Shame About Ray’, which is one of my favourites.