I need some guidance on what to do when my colleagues use words erroneously. If it were a friend I would never equivocate – I would instantly rectify their gaffe. However, I don’t foresee that endeavor producing a positive result with my colleagues. My trepidation is that my colleagues will persist in using these words incorrectly until someone finally discloses the truth. They’ll be mortified and perturbed that no one enlightened them sooner. Surely you can see what a predicament I find myself in.
Should I open up a dialogue to correct their choice of word or disclose the definition of the actual word they have wrongly chosen?
The Savage Sesquipedalian
Dear Savage Sesquipedalian,
We are starting off with a mouthful today. I assigned that moniker very appropriately – I’m sure the writer of the letter knows exactly what it means. For all the normal humans reading this column, allow me to define it for you. In short, sesquipedalian is used in reference to very large words, long-winded speeches, or someone who uses big words to sound smart.
You are not a nice person. You tried to put a bow on your intentions by stating you don’t want your coworkers to be embarrassed, but it was an afterthought. I could sense your glee with the thought of running amok, correcting the vocabulary of anyone who dared cross your path.
The world has already been gifted a Soup Nazi*, we don’t need one for vocabulary!
People use words wrong all the time. Language is a fluid thing and the dictionary adds new words every year. While I can empathize with having to listen to someone who uses basic words incorrectly – I cannot find any sympathy for you. The only two solutions you could find were to stop someone in their tracks and correct their vocabulary or, and this one is so much worse, to give them a vocabulary lesson on the word they chose to use.
Coming from a long-winded gas-bag, I can’t imagine that would go over very well.
I will offer you a solution to this problem, because I am a consummate professional who takes this advice column as seriously as a canine is capable. It does not mean I like you.
Work from home.
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*I would personally like to thank Seinfeld for its existence. You gifted the world with The Soup Nazi and I’ve never laughed so hard in my life.
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