Saw one of those e-cards today. It said “My family is tempermental. Half temper. Half mental.” I thought it was rather clever! I meant to re post it on my favorite social media sites until I spell checked. “Tempermental” doesn’t even exist! There is an “a” that I have neglected to use this whole time that I’ve been using the word! Well, now I feel foolish. Temper and a-mental just doesn’t work with the original thought at all, does it. But at least the e-card saved me from many years of misspelling yet another word, and I’ve been pretty strict about my spelling these days. (Now, if I can only work on my sentence structures… work in progress!).
In the same vein, I happened to use the word commiserate recently in a sentence. My listeners were confused by the term, and I did my homework to find the definition.
com·mis·er·atekəˈmizəˌrāt/verb1.express or feel sympathy or pity; sympathize.
I was surprised to learn that I was also using that word incorrectly. I’ve been using it in sentences such as “Commiserate amongst yourselves” where I probably should’ve used terms like “Talk amongst yourselves.” or “Discuss…” or “Communicate”. I didn’t realize the word had an emotionally sympathetic context to it. So essentially I was telling people to gather to sympathize. Then again, with my dark and brooding sense of things, it’s not much of a surprise to me, especially when I’m being temperamental. (See what I did there?) Ah well, I learned something, and I can continue to botch up my six dollar words as I go!
I did use the word “archaic” today in a meeting. I better look up the meaning and see if I used it correctly…