May. 24th, 2017

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Today, I learned a new word. It was written up on the whiteboard of a classroom where I had taken my EAL class, as "word of the day". The word was "ultracrepidarian." Of course, I had to Google it.

I have quite a good vocabulary, but that one was new to me, and I'd love to know which teacher wrote it.

It sounds like a long, over-the-top word, but the meaning is such an everyday one, concerning something we all have feelings about. It means "shooting your mouth off about a subject you haven't a clue about." Apparently, it was first used in about 1817, to have a go at a literary critic. It came from a couple of Latin words referring to a shoemaker who had the nerve to criticise, as it happened, a famous painter for getting a foot painted wrong. You know - "Cobbler, stick to your last." Personally, I'd think someone who had to make sure shoes fitted a real human foot would know enough to be able to say, "Hey, that foot is all wrong!" But what do I know? Maybe the artist actually said, "Everybody's a critic!" But it's a good word, eh?

I'd love to use that to have a go at someone who has given me a bad review for one of my books.

"Mate, you are such an ultracrepidarian!" you could sneer at some blogger or, if it was a magazine, your letter of response could read, "Sir, I refer to the critic whose comments on my novel's background show a distinct flavour of ultracrepidarianism."

Actually, the reader could be forgiven for thinking it was some form of religious cult...

I'm betting we all know at least one ultracrepidarian, eh? I sure do!

I must find an excuse to use the word in the next few daysM


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September 2017


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