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  • Writer's pictureVedashree Khambete Sharma

Vocabulophobia or the Fear of Long Words


If you’ve been around here for a while, you probably know of my literature-oriented past. For about four years, I’ve eaten, slept, dreamt, spoken of nothing else but Literature. With a capital L even. Most of my friends were also lit students and a discussion on existential angst in Beckett’s works used to be casual canteen conversation for me. For all of us.

Possibly as a result of that, I say ‘annoyed’ instead or ‘mad’, ‘furious’ instead of ‘pissed’. I actually use the words ‘vacuous’, ‘morbid’ and ‘clandestine’ in everyday speech.

And I wasn’t really aware that I did it, till a few days back when I happened to describe an ex-colleague as ‘tempestuous’. I meant to say aggressive, but somehow ‘tempestuous’ was just the bloody word that popped into my mind first. And that did it. Smiley, who has the nasty habit of being in the wrong place at the right time, has now spread word to Pepper, Meanjari and sundry others that I’m a walking-talking dictionary/ encyclopedia with a shameful fondness for long words. And sweet Jesus, I’m having to hear smirky usage of ‘tempestuous’ some fifteen times a day.

My ass is being taken, left, right and centre – in office, in social situations and the day will come when this madness will spread to the internet too.

I feel like a sociopath.

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