Mouth at your own risk

I can hardly write this word without feeling the urge to cover it in plain brown paper, lest someone be shocked by its appearance. But, dear reader, I won’t hold you in suspense like the contrived drama on some reality show. The word is:

salacious (adjective) : relating to sex in a way that is excessive or offensive

Even mouthing it can capture the attention of someone clear across the room.

I dare you—test it.

Saying aloud makes the lips move seductively and the tongue undulate quite wickedly. And so much more satisfying than merely dirty. It sounds and feels like the mood it hopes to capture.

One of my many pastimes is watching old movies—especially with Betty Grable. When I think of the word salacious one movie in particular comes to mind—The Shocking Miss Pilgrim. The story is set in late 1800s Boston and revolves around Betty Grable being the first female employee in a shipping office. Because of the scandal, she is forced to take rooms with a group of misfits. One of the lodgers was a woman who is rewriting the dictionary to make the words better reflect modern life (a kindred spirit). In illustration she refers to Miss Pilgrim’s generously filled oblong purse as ballooned instead of full because the double O makes the mouth mimic the shape.

I wonder what she would have said about salacious?

It has so many of the same letters as scandalous that it’s a wonder it isn’t seen more often in tabloids. As much as the public seems to hunger for any hint of sex, the word should be positively old hat. But it’s not. I can’t even find a good quote using the term. Perhaps they are too salacious to publish.

Are you full or balloon?

Are you full or balloon?

Are words naughty or are we? Wicked Wednesdays are the time to consider it.

Weekend Edition – Dear Writer, You are weird. Plus Good Reads and Writing Tips

Jamie Lee Wallace hit the nail on the head when it comes to defining the weird and wonderful life of a writer. Some of it was eerily familiar.

Live to Write - Write to Live

Writers are not normal people.

Image from Screencraft Image from Screencraft

It started when I was a kid. I would often carry a notebook with me, scribbling everything and nothing on its welcoming pages as I sat alone in a quiet corner of the playground, or – later, when I was older – at the end of a long table in study hall. When I entered the working world, my notebook accompanied me on the commuter train and was my lunch date on the Boston Common. Now, in my life as mom and freelance writer, my notebook is an even more constant companion. Tossed in the back seat or tucked into my bag, it is always at the ready. Whether I’m idling in the pick-up line at school, sitting at the edge of the arena watching my daughter ride, or waiting in the doctor’s office, my notebook is never far away.

Just yesterday…

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While away a moment, whilst I dream

whilst (conjunction): chiefly British, while.

 

You’ll have to forgive me, dear reader, because I have recently returned from a British holiday and still have the word whilst ringing in my ears.

Why did we—and by we I mean North Americans–lose this word? It has so much more zing and pop than while. The clever flick of the L that lands playfully on the –st is almost melodic.

 

Take this quote:

Whilst we deliberate how to begin a thing, it grows too late to begin it.

-Quintilian

 

Wouldn’t that sound less impressive if we replaced the whilst with a while? It adds polish and pizzazz. Dare I say, it even sounds posh?

It conjures up pictures of grand assembly rooms, long couches or Victorian sketches of the Grand Tour.

In short, whilst can transport me to gentility and grace. A one-word vacation. As an historian I know the time period I’m dreaming of was anything but, nevertheless I can romanticize whilst still maintaining a realistic vision of the world.

I know it’s a silly word to get giddy over, but I always take a moments pleasure and pause when I hear it spoken.

Is there a word that makes you smile?