I did learn one good thing from the speed-"reading" course, though: if you want a new word to stick, you should try to use it three times in twenty-hour hours. Over the decades, this practice has led me to commit the odd conversational peculiarity. To wit: "Gosh, mum, this is a xenomorphic potato!"; "Wilbur, if you keep weeing on that grass, you'll completely dephlogisticate it"; "Anyone for a spot of runcation before dinner?" This is why I am Australia's most sought-after dining companion.
This week's fancy new word is avenaceous, "pertaining to oats", which swung into my orbit thanks to Tuesday's A Word A Day email. Sadly, my house-guest du jour declined porridge this morning, so I was deprived of an opportunity to discuss the avenaceousness of our breakfast. Likewise, no one has solicited my opinion on Dr Samuel Johnson's avenaceous remarks:
From S.J.'s Dictionary of the English Language (1755), without permission of the British Library Board.
And this week's loathsomest word, a pile of syllables that should have been put on the boat and sent straight back to the mediaeval scholastic cesspool whence it sprung, is hæcceity, meaning "thisness". "Thisness" is a perfectly lovely word for a concept I rarely feel the need to discuss. "Hæcceity", on the other hand, a word that recurs with disheartening frequency in the thesis I am reading, sounds like the noise you make after drinking a pilchard milkshake.