Superfluous Lexicon #8

Six more words you don't need to know.

Zack S. Westby Zack S. West


People who know the word exacerbate use it all the time. We're genuinely sorry, we know it's annoying, but it's a really, really useful world. Knowledge is contagious, so if you don't want this plague, I suggest moving on to the next word. Exacerbate means to increase the severity of. Do you see how useful that is? Any time anything makes anything else worse, the best word for the job is exacerbate. While we also have aggravate and intensify, neither of those paint quite the same picture. Also, it sounds close enough to 'masturbate' that it makes teenagers giggle.

Example Sentence: Get your fingers out of there. You'll only exacerbate the problem.


I know I did banal a while ago, and while prosaic is a synonym, it's really quite markedly different. For those of you not here for banal, prosaic also means unimaginative or mundane. But they all have slightly different meanings. Banal was so boring it's physically painful. Prosaic is something else. It's when something attempts to be interesting, but doesn't succeed. For example, it would be prosaic if I used any of M. Night Shyamalan's films as an example of prosaic. However, an all synth and drum machine 80's rock cover band called Prosaic Mosaic would be anything but. Shit, now I have to do that. Any talented synth players that look good leather pants apply in the comment section with your contact information and your favorite 80's rock song.

Example Sentence: Unfortunately, most people who know the word prosaic… are.


Haven't liked the Lexicon so far this week? Maybe you're too fastidious. Maybe you are just difficult to please. How can you be sure you aren't just experiencing your own issues that prevent you from finding enjoyment in things? You can't. But that was a cunning argument, composed by a fastidious writer. Because I pay attention to the details. And now you know both ends of fastidious. It means careful, cautious or particular, but to an intense and negative degree. I'm sorry I had to put you through that roller coaster ride of emotion. It was necessary… for the greater good.

Example Sentence: Get ready, this summer, for the Action/Accountancy sequel of the decade! It's 2 Fast 2 Idious.


You may recognize the word vitriolic from the song It's the End of the World (as we know it) by R.E.M.  Or maybe not.  He sings really fast.  Vitriolic is a strange word, because it means of or with vitriol. Vitriol is something acidic, something that burns or bites. Therefore, vitriolic is a synonym for caustic, but it's much better as a metaphorical word. When something burning, stinging, scathing builds inside you, ready to explode. Revolutionaries are full of vitriol. People who wear t-shirts with revolutionaries' faces on them are not.

Example Sentence: "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, and filled me with the vitriol I needed to become one of the most iconic characters in film history. Prepare to die."


The word pejorative means in a derogatory sense. But really, it means words like **** and ****. And even *****, if you use it rudely. Then there's ******** and ****-******. I mean, you can get really creative. I like the term ***** ********* semprini **** ****** upside down ****** dingleberry farmer. Of course, the interesting thing is that the moment there's no anger behind it, it's no longer pejorative. It's just an innocent shit. Or ass-clown. When I say something rude or off color, but don't mean it in the pejorative sense, what's the problem, right?

Example Sentence: You think you can out-pejorative me, you ******** ******** ****** paella ****** ****-******* intestinal blockage?


Brusque. It's a word. Word means short. Quick and simple. And usually rudely. F*** off.

Example Sentence: I'm being brusque. And I mean it in the pejorative sense.