Things that will make your friends think you are smart: Words


If you want to make this whole smart thing work, make sure you know the word etymology. You should say it at least once somewhere in or around these other facts so that people think you are legitimately interesting rather than a scrub with a pocket full of facts. Etymology is basically the study of how words change over time, it’s their backstory. Considering the ever-dwindling attention span of the new generations, that’s about all the preface I feel I can get away with. Onto the shit!

1. Butterfly

You’ve probably never stopped to question this word. And that’s fine, because if you actually took the time to hear the words you are saying, they would all stop making sense. Butterfly comes from some idiot who messed up the way people USED TO say flutter-by, because that’s exactly what those nectar sucking harpies do. Nectar, by the way, comes from the same root as necro-, and translates to a liquid that allows you to overcome death, which was why it became known as the drink of the gods. And now we give it to insects.

A gross number of words in our language come from bastardization (i.e. – people mispronouncing it and it staying that way.) Here’s a word you can use to make you sound even SMARTER, spoonerism. A spoonerism is when you transfer the front a word you plan to say in the future onto the word you are currently saying. EX: Buck Futter (though you’d have to assume Connery was meaning to say Fuck Butter?)

2. Sophomore

Soph- comes from the greek Sophos, meaning wise (think Sophocles) and –more comes from Moros, meaning foolish (think moron). Smash ‘em together and you’ve got yourself a wise moron. I’m particularly fond of this word because it is so precise and like the others in this post, it hides in plain sight.

3. Marinara

Marinara sauce, you know, the red one that goes on spagetti.  Usually the cheapest one on the menu. There’s a reason for that, and there’s a reason it’s so popular in Italy. It just might tie the ENTIRE WORLD TOGETHER! But it doesn’t. For anyone who tried to learn any of those Romance languages (by the way, they aren’t called Romance because they’re sexy, it’s because they’re based on that language they used to speak in Rome) you should be able to notice the word Mar- in there. Mar-, meaning sea, marino is a sailor, so marinara means “pertaining to sailors”. Full translation… Sailor’s Sauce. That was just the leg work, here’s the fun part. If you’ve ever seen Italy on a map then you’d understand why they had so many sailors. When those sailors came home, their wives identified the ships by the flags, which were only discernable once the ship was about 15 minutes away from port. Once they knew it was their husband coming in and not some other lady’s, they would rush home and start making him the best meal they could that would also be ready in 15 minutes. Some smashed up tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil, heat…  Sailor’s sauce.

4. Pussy

I’m talking about the term we throw around when someone is being a coward. I’m willing to guess that the vast majority of people who use it think it has to do with the vagina, or perhaps a cat. Niet, it comes from, pusillanimous. Though it’s an adjective and pussy is a noun, their meaning is the same. Don’t ask me why we call vaginas that.  Vagina, by the way, means sheath, like something you put a sword into. If you are a guy and are reading this and think you should be emboldened by your dick sword… don’t.  Penis means little tail and shares the same root with the words pen and pencil.

5. Faggot

Now, this one you probably shouldn’t run around telling everyone you know considering it’s a sensitive issue. But that doesn’t stop it from being interesting. Back in the days of the witch hunts, society despised homosexuals, but not as much as they despised witches. So when they caught a witch, they would order the homosexuals in town to go out and bundle up sticks (this is the definition you thought you knew) and  they would load these bundles under the pyre where the witch was to be burned. The people would light the sticks on fire and if it happened that the witch was still alive when the bundles of sticks had run out, they would throw the homosexuals on the fire to keep it going.  Thus equivocating homosexuals to faggots.


Enjoy your newfound moments of being interesting. Should you run out of ammunition, just ask the internet about the words you say every day, you’d be surprised. And  I’ll leave you with one more, although it’s not entirely related. Ever seen how they used to have places called Ye Olde Coffee Shoppe? Well Y used to be a special letter in the alphabet that indicated a th- sound. So you just just go ahead and read that as The Old Coffee Shop. Also, if you have trouble reading any latin chiseled into the facade (same root as face) just know that all those misplaced V’s are actually U’s, but U’s are too obnoxious to chisel. Mmm, knowledge, don’t it taste good (just a lengthening of the word god).

by Kyle Fried

2 thoughts on “Things that will make your friends think you are smart: Words”

  1. Wow i never realised how much knowlegde there is out there expecially about words.But i’m curious as to why mother and father are pronounced the same but written differently?

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