Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Build Your Vocabulary so You Don't Sound Gormless (Vocab. #3)
The words you know and use come from your interests, your activities and your general engagement in living. You pick up new words from the media, from the places you go and from your friends. It is possible to be very intelligent with a limited vocabulary – but it doesn’t happen much. In fact, a limited vocabulary restricts your ability to communicate, to understand and possibly even to think effectively.
Of course if you use a lot of words the people around you don’t know, you could be talking to no one but yourself.
On the other hand, that might just be a virtue if you are frustrated by a witless, brainless companion! Rather than call the dolt ‘stupid,’ you can resort to ‘gormless,’ satisfy your impulse to express yourself without losing a friend. Maybe. Assuming the person is, in fact, as dull witted as you believe.
You may find variations for ‘gormless’ like ‘gaumless’ and ‘gawnless,’ as the word comes to us from the Germanic strand, from ‘gaum,’ meaning 'understand.'
And if you don’t want to be understood, save ‘gormless’ for State-side; the Brits apparently use it more than we. Plus, it is likely to be on the upswing here as well, as J. K. Rowling used it in the 2007 Potter release.