Time to confess: tell us about a time when you used a word whose meaning you didn’t actually know (or were very wrong about, in retrospect).
I’m sure that’s happened, but I honestly can’t remember. I can, however, tell you about getting into trouble for a word I used that other people didn’t understand.
“Asinine behavior will not be tolerated in my classroom!” I said, with great confidence that my statement would be received with the respect it deserved. I was talking to juniors in high school, after all, and there was no excuse for them to behave in a silly, foolish manner (that’s the definition–look it up!)
They immediately settled down, staring at me in utter shock. Feeling rather proud of myself, I continued with the lesson and thought no more about it until. . . . .
. . . .another teacher knocked on my door after school, walked in and stood there looking at me as if I were a particularly ugly bug under his microscope.
By the way, the picture has nothing to do with the story, except that “ass” is another word for “donkey,” And I just thought it was funny 🙂
“The juniors told me you called them all asses,” he said, his voice and face clearly showing his shock and disapproval.
“Oh, good grief. That must be why they left here without saying another word for the whole class period. I did NOT use that word. I said their behavior was asinine.”
“Well, Linda, I’m frankly shocked, and very disappointed in you. You are known for your high standards, and for you to use such language–“
“NO! I didn’t use bad language. The word is asinine, not ass. It means silly, stupid, ridiculous. There is NO connection. It doesn’t even have two esses! Look it up! It’s a perfectly good word!”
He was unconvinced. I pulled out a dictionary and showed him. He was still unhappy, feeling I could have chosen a better word.
Personally, I felt the whole incident was asinine.