Superfluous Lexicon #6

Another eight words you didn't think you'd ever need to know... and technically you still don't.

Zack S. Westby Zack S. West


A fine word to know in these turbulent political times, to oscillate is to swing to and fro, like a pendulum. I think you can follow me from this point on. From the oscillating attitude of our meek President, to the way the right seems to have policies that oscillate based on the goals of their opposition. Suddenly, you look like forty times smarter in conversation with your brother in law that works down at "City Hall", working as a "Transfer Agent", and is totally "writing a non-fiction book about Northern Canadian Ornithology.

Example Sentence: I want to oscillate that guy's balls with my fist.


Okay, this one may be a little confusing, but I'll see what I can do. You would describe something as anachronistic if it seems out of time and place. Bowler hats and handlebar mustaches would have been anachronistic ten years ago, before the influx of hipsters. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is a famous anachronism, but if you haven't read the book, or seen the millions of movies based loosely on it, it's about a Connecticut Yankee who ends up in King Arthur's Court, and that has amusing consequences. And, for the Sci-Fi fans out there, Doctor Who is a character made entirely of anachronisms.

Example Sentence: People would describe me as anachronistic, if the word itself wasn't so anachronistic.


Doesn't that sound like a really esoteric but totally great superhero? In reality, quartermaster is a military position held by the guy who watches all the stuff. He's the stuff watcher. But the name quartermaster just makes me imagine of a giant, musclebound man with a massive viking beard and possibly a polearm of some kind. With his arms folded, he looks down at you, and in a moment of primal fear you completely forget what you came to get from him. Meekly, you walk away, knowing one day you will gain the courage to face him and get the item you desire. Someday, you will face… the Quartermaster.

Example Sentence: "Hey, Quartermaster, can I get that thing I want?"


Deciduous means having a tendency to fall off. It's mainly used botanically, as in 'deciduous trees shed in the winter', but if we stretch our mind a little bit, we can do some interesting things with it. The quality of film sequels is generally deciduous. So is the perkiness of most ladies' breasts. And if you stretch it really, really far, you can use it to describe the flesh of lepers. And, on an unrelated note, deciduous flesh is basically the most disgusting concept in the world.

Example Sentence: Limbs become far more deciduous when fighting with battle axes.


If you thought deciduous was going to be confusing, you're gonna have a blast now. Fungible means to be easily replaceable by something similar. It's traditionally used as a trait certain commodities have. Something is fungible when it is of equal value to an identical item. A dollar bill is the ultimate in fungibility, because it is literally worth exactly the same as all other dollar bills. Art, however, is not fungible at all, as a forgery would be worth nothing compared to the original. It's also just a very amusing word. Try it in a group of friends, and see how many of them giggle when you discuss just how fungible Pretty Little Liars is, in that if it got canceled, another show about mildly attractive girls with giant eyes and personal problems would replace it instantly.

Example Sentence: When it comes to the economy of professions, factory line workers are fungible, writers are not.


Before we go any further, I know you guys have asked me to do phonetics, and I have staunchly refused up until this point. But this one is tough, so I'll give it to you. It's Purr-spick-KASS-i-tea. Moving on. Perspicacity has the some of best synonyms in the world, because nothing describes intelligence and insight quite as well as the English language. We, the Coastal Intellectual Elite (C.I.E., because cie, the Republicans were right, it's all true!) created the English language, so obviously we're gonna make all the words that describe us the best. Perspicacity hangs out with such fine synonyms (and future SL words) like acumen, sagacity, ingenuity, prudence, wisdom, erudition and vigilance. But basically, it describes one who is smart, observant, and is willing to make the difficult decisions with confidence.

Example Sentence: It's Captain Jean Luc Picard. He is the definition of perspicacity.


Aberrant means something that deviates drastically from the norm. It also has a number of great synonyms (eccentric, deviant, atypical, preternatural…), but unlike perspicacity, aberrant is undeniably the best. It is just the best word. I want it tattooed on my forehead. I want to buy a horse, name it Aberrant, and fight crime with a sword. I want to start a klezmer cover band of Atom and the Ants called Aberr and the Ants. I use the word aberrant so often I just had to look up the word weird. It is better than every other word in the world. It takes the cake… and eats it too.

Example Sentence: I may be aberrant, but at least I'm not abhorrent!


You may ask, at this point, how it came to be that my favorite word in the English language and my second favorite word in the English language are a bad stutter away from being homonyms. I have an explanation for that- I just happen to be pretty great, and therefore great stuff happens around me. The word abhorrent is what you use when you find something so vile, so truly insulting to your humanity, that you can hardly summon up the energy to speak it. Hitler was abhorrent. The healthcare quality in third world countries is abhorrent. That guy who cut me off on Sunset Blvd the other day was definitely f***ing abhorrent. But, then again, so was tracking his license plate, finding his address, murdering his family and leaving them there for him to find when he gets home from work only to have the police arrive and arrest him for the murder of his beautiful wife and two children that he just loved so very, very much.

Example Sentence: Okay, maybe I'm a little abhorrent.