Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Wrong Fifty-Cent Word

From MSN Health:

Q: My son is anemic and has high cholesterol. I know I should give him multivitamins to help with the anemia. However, I need to know what kinds of foods he should avoid and what he should eat to help with the cholesterol problem. He is 15 years old, always tired and somewhat overweight.

A: Your son’s experience is a neoclassic example of being malnourished yet overweight. He sounds like an increasing number of American youth—he is getting an abundance of calories, likely from highly processed foods, but he’s missing key nutrients and doesn’t get enough exercise. He needs to turn around his health.

This is like wearing tails to the senior prom when everyone knows they're morning wear. Well, not everyone knows that. But the people who do will titter behind their monocles.

Beware the fancy word that sounds like the everyday one you were searching for.

The word this PhD author wanted here was "classic." Neoclassic, in its most common sense, refers to the revival of classic art forms.

Penultimate and histrionics are other examples of formal word-wear donned for the wrong occasion.

SPOGG loves fancy words as much as the next volunteer humanitarian agency. But even more, SPOGG loves plain and simple speech, which is harder to screw up.

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