Thursday, July 26, 2012

My New Favourite Word

So the other day, my hubby and I were watching a taped episode of ‘The People's Court’, a television court show in which small claims cases are heard by Judge Marilyn Millian. We actually prefer Judge Judy but there have only been reruns lately, so we’ve started watching Judge Millian as an alternative, which isn’t bad. But we get a bigger kick out of the way Judge Judy mops the floor with some people, some of whom deserve it. Not all, though; sometimes I think she goes a bit too far. She is quite abrasive at times. Okay, most of the time. This woman actually scares the bejesus out of me. I cringe whenever she gets into one of her ‘chew-them-up-and-spit-them-out’ moods imagining it being me getting verbally smacked like that. I would never in a million years be on her show. I don’t think I’d survive her. Of course, for the right price (camera lenses are expensive, you know), I could be persuaded. Maybe.

A curmudgeon
I have been heard saying “I wish I could have her job for one day.” It would be a hoot to be able to unleash some demons on some offenders. But only really bad ones. And come to think of it, I’m not sure I could do it when it really comes down to it. I’m Canadian, after all, and we’re typically too polite to behave in that manner.

But I digress.

So like I was saying, we were watching an episode of ‘The People’s Court’ and the defendant in one case said about the plaintiff “He’s a curmudgeon, your honour. He sucks the joy out of everything.”

My ears perked up at this. ”What an interesting-sounding word”, I thought. “I’ve never heard it before, or even know what it means. But it sounds so good. I must look it up.”

And look it up, I did.

The Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary defines it as “a crusty, ill-tempered, and usually old man”.

Usually old man, but not always. Therefore, it can be applied to just about anyone who “sucks the joy out of everything”; someone who is ill-tempered, full of resentment and stubborn notions.

Don’t we all know people like this? Individuals that “suck the joy out of everything.” We sure do!

Even a pet can be a curmudgeon.
And although there are a lot of other words that one can use like bad-tempered, disagreeable, killjoy, wet blanket, bellyacher, crab, crank, griper, growler, grumbler and grouch, just to name a few, none of them are as impressive as ‘curmudgeon’. Go on, try it on for size. Say it out loud. (Go here to listen to the pronunciation)

CURMUDGEON [ker-muhj-uhn]

Lovely, isn’t it?

[ker-muhj-uhn]

Best part of all is that hardly anyone will know what it means when you smack them with it. It’s not a common word. So if someone is being a real pill, you can pat their hand, put on a great big smile and say “Oh you...you are such a curmudgeon.” Then chuckle a little, so they think you’re teasingly complimenting them. I bet even if they’re confused they’ll smile along with you, chuckle nervously, maybe even say “Uh...thanks.”

And I also bet that the first thing they’ll do when they get home is look it up. Then get really peeved. But by then you’ll have had your fun.

Curmudgeon.

My new favourite word.

Yup, birds, too.

16 comments:

  1. Who knew kittens and fat little birdys could be curmudgeons!
    Okay, I'll use it today but I'm sure I'll get the strangest looks.
    m.

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    1. Every living thing can be a curmudgeon, you know. And you may get strange looks, but you'll sound so intelligent using that fancy word.

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  2. A lovely word! English is such an amazing language. Did you know that a long, long, long time ago boasts were called 'wave steeds'?
    I read a book about how the language developed and found it fascinating.

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    1. I have no doubt that the language has evolved over time, and I'm sure there are words from the past that would go right over my head. English is an amazing language. It's no wonder more and more of the world is learning to speak it.

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  3. I will do my best to be curmudgeonly today in your honour, Martha.

    P.S. -- I love Judge Judy too!

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    1. We're all a little curmudgeonly from time to time. Judge Judy rocks. (And scares me to death ;)

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  4. I've always loved the word "curmudgeon." I've even called myself that when I find myself ranting and raving about the ways of the world. In fact, I see my inner curmudgeon as looking somewhat like the top picture---a fist-shaking crank. :-) But I never realized it described someone who sucks the joy out of everything! Maybe I should consider a different word, since I'm actually a pretty optimistic person. In fact, it's probably that very optimism that makes me cranky---I expect better out of people.

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    1. I think we're all curmudgeons from time to time. But I don't think of myself as someone who sucks the joy out of things. And I certainly don't think that about you. I believe that sometimes we're disappointed by crude and rude behaviour.

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  5. I love it! The thought of someone (a Canadian of course) thanking you in their confusion made me LOL!! I can definitely see it happening :D Heck I catch myself aplogizing when someone bumps into ME!! I hope you get a chance to use it for real very soon... of course that would mean you're being exposed to an ill-tempered joy-sucker - but as we all unfortunately know - there are plenty of those around!

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    1. Hehehe...yup, that's Canadians for you! I do the same thing, Jane. I apologize when someone bumps into me, or when someone gets in my way. It's just a natural response. After it happens, I shake my head wondering what the heck I did that for!

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  6. Where I work it is full of them. I will get to use this word regulary. :)

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    1. You are surrounded by curmudgeons? That is such a bummer! But at least you have a good word to use on them.

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  7. Hey, where's Sulky Kitten? Is that "Curmudgeonly Cat" one of her close relatives? Just saying --- looks a lot like her! Hmmmm.... anyway...I also love the word "Curmudgeon", that's what they always used to call the late Andy Rooney (60 minutes). I think I will make an excellent curmudgeon some day!

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    1. Hahaha...it doesn't look like a relative of hers, doesn't it? Sulky, where are you?? We're just teasing, you know.

      I think many of us will make good curmudgeons...hehe...

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  8. WOW, who would think that people's court was also a source of culture. I am adding this word to my book of fantastic words to say and people will not understand :-D

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    1. Hahaha...yes, Ana, this is a great word to use; one that most people won't understand! You can have a lot of fun with it.

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