Don’t Make Him Tell You Thrice!

Recently, talk show host Conan O’Brien issued a challenge to his audience by encouraging them to use the word “thrice” more often. You know, thrice — as in something transpiring three times in succession. So, for instance, the Lionel Richie classic would be renamed “Once, twice, thrice times a lady.” And I think that sounds like a better song title anyway, don’t you?

Coco championed the Thrice Campaign because he argued great words that nobody uses are already in the dictionary. And just let me say, I acquiesce capaciously (whatever that means) with Conan not once, nor twice, but thrice.

See, every couple of years a bunch of word geeks sit in what I imagine are clandestine gatherings and decide what words will be added to the dictionary in a perverse mutiny of the English language. A small sampling of just some of these new so-called words include frenemy, bromance, nonversation and chillax. I’m sorry, forgive me for not knowing, but when did junior high kids start dictating what words belong in the dictionary?

You remember Conan, right? He has a show over on TBS now, and it’s his thrice time hosting a late night talk show in the aftermath of the whole Jay Leno debacle. That’s right, despite Conan’s once-perceived bromance with Jay Leno, they both became frenemies with one another.

I must admit, however, there was one word I felt lugubrious (that means sad) about for not making the dictionary cut. That word is lenoed, a verb that means to give something to someone only to take it back undeservingly at a later date (once your prime time show receives poor ratings). Here, I’ll use it in a sentence in case you’re stupid: It was only after awakening in the recovery room when Tim learned his best friend Joe had lenoed him out of a kidney for a transplant.

Another word that made the list is a personal favorite of mine: staycation. It’s not often a single word will rouse an aggressive (or pugnacious) response from me. One time I butted into a “nonversation” between two strangers just to object to their usage of the word! I made a few frenemies that day, let me tell you, and if not for the statute of limitations that murder carries, I’d even tell you where I buried one of the bodies.

Stay-cation, va-cation, get it,” I always overhear some self-amused moron say.

“Yes, we get it,” I feel like screaming. “Just like bromance, it’s clever wordplay, but so is the word “defriend” — do you want that in the dictionary, too?”

Oh wait, it already is. Yup, defriend is coming to a dictionary near you, crammed between the words defray and defrost like a metaphor I’m too lazy to come up with. Thank you, Facebook, for helping to pollute a refined language that dates back to the fifth century.

That’s why we should heed the perspicacious words of Conan the Grammararian, which is a word I made up just now. Who knows, at this rate that word might end up in the dictionary someday, too.

But to be perfectly honest, these new words don’t bother me nearly as much as the people who actually say them. It takes a really special person to use “ginormous” correctly in a sentence. And I just want everyone who uses these types of words to know one thing: It makes you sound nescient, benighted and imbecilic, all of which are really great dictionary words that mean ignorant.

So, the dictionary is already filled with great words that nobody uses anymore, just like Conan said. And I don’t think it’s asking too much to start using some of them more often, especially the word thrice. Or else.

You’ve been warned once, and I’ve told you twice. Just don’t make me tell you thrice!

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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