Fun with Un

At Magick Sandwich, we like to have a little fun with prefixes every once in a while. Why should plain old nouns and verbs have all the fun?

Unbelievable: Here’s a brain teaser for you. The initial report went like this: At 2:25 A.M., Tiger Woods was leaving his home when he ran into a hydrant with his SUV. It happened at low speed. The airbags didn’t deploy. His wife broke the window with a golf club to free him. It doesn’t take long to come up with this equation: Hasty departure in the middle of the night + wife in driveway swinging a golf club = trouble at home.

This should be a lesson in critical thinking. If the guy’s own publicist is gagging on the story, you should think twice about it. (Because I must, let me get the obligatory golf-related joke out of the way. If Woods had been feeling more successful in his career, maybe he wouldn’t have been putting on someone else’s green. And his wife wouldn’t have been aiming for a hole in one. I have more but they’re even worse.)

Unspoken: Did you know that November 27th was the National Day of Listening? Me, neither. I guess everybody was too busy listening to be able to tell us. It’s a day to appreciate the stories of your friends, family and others, to make time to hear them speak about their lives.

Next year, perhaps the organizers should plan ahead and tell us about it, so we’ll know that, just like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day and so many others, there’s just one day a year that we have to be aware of other peoples’ importance and contributions to our lives. Now we’re free to jabber on, be self-involved and thoughtless for the next year. Just mark your calendars: you wouldn’t want to miss that one day of caring.

Unfriend has been chosen as Oxford English Dictionary’s 2009 Word of the Year. Facebook must be so proud. The corrosion of our language continues apace.

Over the coming months, we should all submit entries for Oxford’s 2010 Word of the Year.I’ve come up with a couple based on my viewing of A&E’s Hoarders. (I watch it to feel better about my own housekeeping.) The subject, Augustine, had not one but two dead, desiccated cats squashed flat under the garbage in her living room. This is something I will never be able to “unsee” and now you cannot “unknow”– come on, Oxford! If you’re going to degrade the English language, the least you can do is let me help!

Copyright Notice 2018 Magick Sandwich


13 replies
  1. Laura
    Laura says:

    Unfriend! What the hell is wrong with Oxford Dic.? They've turned into a bunch of trend loving, slang-ninnies. The future holds a bunch of drooling idiots who cannot spell their full names. Excellent post Magick!

  2. Brian o vretanos
    Brian o vretanos says:

    The dictionary folk have been putting in "trendy" words for as long as I can remember, most of which are never used again, so I shouldn't worry too much.

    I don't agree that the language is being eroded – it's changing. I'd love for someone to explain in what way these changes are bad, and also to nominate a period when English was at its best. Most people seem to believe the language peaked at exactly the time they were in school.

    I bet that Shakespeare felt the same about changes in his lifetime, yet I personally would prefer not to walk around talking like an Elizabethan…

  3. kathcom
    kathcom says:

    @Laura: It beat out "defriend." I'm actually relieved I have something to describe choosing to longer be friends with someone. It's like shorthand.

    @AmyMusings: Yes, "magick" has been a real word for a very long time. I like to think of it as magic with extra pizazz, like jazz hands.

    @Brian: Yes, it's true. Most of them fall by the wayside quickly. But some hang in there, like "interfacing" with someone. What happened to talking? Conversing?

    I don't believe language was perfect when I was in school. But I did major in creative writing so I like to see and hear it used properly.

    Language does not improve with the relaxation of rules, in my opinion. The fact that "importantly" is now in the dictionary does not make it correct. It just lowers the bar.

    In Shakepeare's day, there was no uniform spelling. Have you seen the disparate spelling of the folios? He coined words and phrases, both high-toned and low. He delighted in using ribald language for the groundlings. So it's doubtful he lamented the state of English then.

    Since Elizabethans didn't speak in iambic pentameter, I doubt you'd have much of a problem walking around talking like an Elizabethan.

    Though attempts were made as early as 1604, a definitive English dictionary was not introduced until 1755. Apparently, people longed for a sense of order in language–not just the William Safires of the world.

    Perhaps it is posturing on my part to say our use of language reflects laziness and lack of pride. But I would wager that declaring it is getting better is just as much of a pose.

    I just heard "smash a homey" used to describe having intercourse with your sex partner's friend. Should that end up in the dictionary? Simply because a new word or phrase exists does not make it worthy of acknowledgment. That's not evolution. It's slang.

  4. slommler
    slommler says:

    My MIL is the language police and believes she is the only one to speak and use proper English! Drives me crazy! She is continually putting down others for the way they speak or write…I think that is wrong. Bad language be damned! At least we are talking to one another. LOL!!

  5. kathcom
    kathcom says:

    @slommler: Okay, so your mother-in-law is a pain in the butt. That doesn't make proper spelling and grammar into bad things.

    I use sloppy language and forget grammatical rules when I'm writing. I always hope no one else notices…or I have my hubby proofread.

    Blogs and emails aren't necessarily places where you worry about getting everything right. As you said, at least we're talking to each other.

    But the English major in me wants to get things right. If I don't at least try, I feel like I'm going out in public with my shirt buttoned up wrong. (That should probably be wrongly, but wrong sounded better in my head. So screw it. See, I get it!)

    Hugs back at you, SueAnn!

  6. Leeuna
    Leeuna says:

    Ohhh. It pains me greatly to see someone butcher their writing with slanguage and all those gianormous errors. Oops. I think it's contagious. :) I hope you won't unfriend me now.

    Loved this post BTW. Your Tiger Woods jokes were spot on.

    P.S. My word verification is "filism"

  7. HermanTurnip
    HermanTurnip says:

    I'm all for unconventional English. What I can't stand is "leet speak", but I do enjoy authors who twist the language to make for an original work. From Mark Twain, to Tolkien, to Chuck Palahniuk (I *dare* you to wrap your head around his book Pygmy. That book will either make you a fan or push to poking your own eyes out with a dull chopstick), it's refreshing to see the language twisted to make for a interesting read. But, if I ever see the words "unfriend", "mentee", or "upskill", I'll have to reevaluate my choice of reading material.

    Of couse, I *still* have a problem with people at work who use the term "vaca". *shudder*

  8. Jason
    Jason says:

    I like your site, it's very funny. I have a humor blog as well and I'd like to exchange links with you. We need to spread some traffic around.


  9. Nanny Goats In Panties
    Nanny Goats In Panties says:

    What? Just 2 dead dessicated cats? I saw an episode of Hoarders where they found DOZENS of 'em. Along with something like 70+ live ones. Yeah, I felt REAL good about myself after THAT one. This is why we need this crap on TV. It's good for us and our self-esteem.

  10. Michael
    Michael says:

    English in its entirety should remain largely intact. I'm sure our friends on the other side of the Atlantic are appalled by our perceived misuse of the "Queen's English." The true travesty is the degeneration of English dialects, as evidenced by the scrawlings on gas station bathroom walls, ironically written in an Old English type font. And we have come full circle here….

    …And Another Thing!!!


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