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Words about words don't make us wordy

It makes sense. A logophile is bound to be drawn to words, even words about words. And there are plenty of them.

If someone speaks verbatim, he uses the words exactly as they were used originally. If some of those words were unnecessary, the speaker may be seen as verbose, using more words than are needed, being wordy or garrulous.

Another way of saying there are too many words or that excessively technical expressions are used is to call it verbiage. And if this excess leads to language that is fluent and voluble, but insincere and shallow, you may call the writer glib. Along these lines, a flattering or pleasing statement used to persuade can be called a blandishment.

If the words are reproduced in a confused and distorted way, they are garbled, and if they lack significance because of being overused, they may be called trite. This language overall is known as hackneyed, and if used too often to be interesting, we may call it platitudinous.

Much of the aforementioned description deals with senseless talk, or nonsense, which can be kindly described as balderdash.

Of course, there are those who use few words, keeping their language concise, brief, compact, also known as succinct. If the words are condensed to the point of possibly being rude or abrupt, we may call them terse. A person who hesitates to express her thoughts or feelings in words may be known as shy or inhibited; or we can say that person is reticent.

There are those who use their words in a negative way. They cast aspersions, words of attack on another’s integrity or reputation. Their words may come from a source of braggadocio, followed by and showing boastful or arrogant behavior.

A person who is “roasted” will be the target of raillery, good-humored teasing or mockery. The stories told of them may be a canard, an unfounded rumor or story. But if those mocking them are truly ruthless, they may use calumny, false and defamatory statements in order to damage the individual’s honor.

And on a more positive side, we receive the gift of neologisms; these are newly coined words or expressions. A combination of “all” and “evil spirits” was created by John Milton in Paradise Lost when he gave us pandemonium.

Stephen King put piehole (slang for mouth) into our vocabulary for the first time in 1983 with his novel "Christine."

Oh, I think it is time for me to shut mine, at least for now!

— Sandi Ekberg taught high school English in Medford for 30 years. If you have grammar questions, email her at ifixgrammar@charter.net