You can't say that

 Word count: 307                                   Reading time: 1-2 mins

Remuda – the word rolls off the tongue gently and sensually. Unless you’re a rider in North America, you may not know that it refers to the herd of horses from which ranch-hands choose their mount each day. I learned it after watching a video of the late, magnificent mare Whizard’s Baby Doll in a bridleless reining exhibition. That was a sad way to add to my vocabulary. Yet remuda is a word that will probably never make it into my fiction.

Years ago a friend gave me the book They Have a Word for It by Howard Rheingold. This gift has tortured me ever since. It offers a feast of delicious words that I can never use without sounding like a pretentious prat. I mean really – where would I use the Huron word orenda (the powerful voice that can be called upon to combat the blind forces of fate – the opposite of kismet)? While I think the Yiddish word berrieh (rhymes with dare ya) for an extraordinarily energetic, talented, and competent woman should be used daily to describe my remarkable friends, how many people would understand what I was talking about?

Some of the expressions like esprit de l’escalier and zeitgeist have come into more common usage since Rheingold penned his book in the 1980’s. Maybe in time some of my other favourites will be bantered about if not in conversation then in the written word. I can’t wait until we can finally say good-bye to the tired cliché, the elephant in the living room, and talk about getting down to the mokita of the situation.

Do you have words that slipped into your vocabulary because of some significant event in your life? Or have you come across words that you simply like a lot but know they are too esoteric to be used?

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Photo by: YazolinoGirl