Foreign Relations

Words I Miss

I don’t know what gets the blame—political correctness, pop culture, declining understanding of the subtleties of language, or just time—but I miss some words.  I wish people used them more often. 

Spat—and the past of other verbs that end with “-it.”  Instead of “spat,” I hear only “spit” used for any tense.  “He spat on me,” lends an air of dignity that “he spit on me” lacks.


Spittle—another victim of the ubiquitous verb.  Spittle is a noun.  “The umpire recognized the foreign substance as the pitcher’s spittle.” 


Lend—a verb eaten by its noun cousin, loan.  “Lend me a dollar,” says the intelligent young man. 


Grand—Holden Caulfield destroyed this fine, old word.  “We had a grand time at the party.” 


Shindig—still pops up now an then, but not enough.   Too many parties; not enough shindigs.


Shenanigans—once used to describe inappropriate behavior; this excellent word exists only on the hunter green awnings of semi-Irish sports bars in every city in America.  Let’s take it down from the awning and into our conversations.


Gal—The other night, I used the word “gal” in a sentence, and my wife asked, “how old are you?”  Gal has a cool, Sinatra sound to it.  “I saw Joey out with some gal last night,” piques interests much faster than “I saw Joey with a girl” or “woman” or “chick” or “on a date” or any other word you’d care to substitute.  “Gal” says as much about the speaker as it does the object.  People who say “gal” drink scotch and smile a lot.


Tomfoolery—What a fine, fine word.  Tomfoolery will get you hurt, while shenanigans will hurt others.

Author: William Hennessy

Co-founder of St. Louis Tea Party Coalition and Nationwide Chicago Tea Party Persuasive design expertLatest book: Turning On Trump: An Evolution (2016)Author of The Conservative Manifest (1993), Zen Conservatism (2009), Weaving the Roots (2011), and Fight to Evolve (2016)I believe every person deserves the dignity of meaningful work as the only path to human flourishing.