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Tuesday 1 June 2021

Mot Juste

The English language has the propensity of bestowing us with a mot juste - appropriate vocabulary to address every contingency. Society demands certain norms of verbal etiquette and politeness even under duress. 

There are scores of words out there that you can happily use when matters are hunky-dory. But when the going gets tough, you've got to think on your feet. Putting out harsh words can ruin all and any good you've done.

Thankfully, you can use the right words to express yourself while toning down the embarrassment, animosity or unpleasantness factor in subtle ways deigned to convey, at least to a certain extent, the depth of feelings behind them...hopefully without ruffling feathers. 

Of course you don't want to go malaprop, so read up, and instead of being the usual mute bystander, pull out those polite word guns and go all Tharoorish on the opposite party. 

Here is a short compilation of words, some from old English, that can come to your aid as they come close to expressing, "the moment" or "the feeling", in a more refined way.

  1. Disaster at hand can be construed as an Adversity.
  2. You can condone a scatterbrained person as just being Ambiguous or Vague.
  3. A tyrant can be depicted in nobler light by calling him Authoritarian
  4. Brainstorming is a wonderful word when you are engaged in of hours of fruitless discussion.
  5. The terribly talkative or a loudmouthed can be benignly extolled for being Boisterous, Loquacious or simply Spirited.
  6. If you are asked to elaborate on particularly boring, pointless and endless conversations or discussions - Circumlocutory and Obfuscate can be very helpful. 
  7. Calling something Contrived is better than it being hypocritical.
  8. Faced with a Conundrum or a Dilemma? You'll be better appreciated for it than bluntly stating that you are confused.
  9. A maddening behaviour, touted as Disturbing, well, can be less disturbing.
  10. Egregious will do well to fashionably dismiss B grade movies, books, meetings...yawn, whatever else.
  11. Enigmatic and Esoteric are extremely valuable words to intelligently put what is beyond your comprehension.
  12. Half-baked and Imprudent definitely sound better than ridiculous.
  13. A particularly bizarre and impractical proposition can be congratulated as being Ingenious yet a tad too Futuristic for implementation.
  14. You can romanticize cunning and devious behaviour as Machiavellian.
  15. Somebody's performance being Limited may sound less brutal than disappointing.
  16. A miserly person may be benevolently ascribed to being Parsimonious.
  17. Pedantic can be a delightful substitute for OCD.
  18. Ruminating on matters that are at an impasse can be a proactive expression to use instead of a simple WIP or even worse, saying you're getting nowhere.
  19. Describing someone as one who enjoys Soliloquy is way better than calling him a conversational narcissist.
  20. Tenacious can be a rather flattering way of alluding to cut-throat competition.
  21. Sharing a less than cordial or a Tenuous relation with someone may sound better than a bitter rival.
  22. Trite or Pedestrian can be gentle way to put down a dull idea.
  23. Precocious, which sounds very close to precious, is a perfect description when you have to compliment parents of know-it-all kids/brats.
  24. A low-budget, less than comfortable stay can be justified as being Spartan or even Austere.
  25. An aggressive individual can be delicately referred to as being of Volatile temperament.


Well, I'll keep adding to this list as I come up with more jargon to bail you out of tight situations. Meanwhile, all you folks reading this, chew the bullet, stay safe at home and keep calm till the pandemic outside blows over...which seems to be interminably extending to an eternity.😢😢😷

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