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Oct 24, 2022
This week’s theme
There’s a word for it

This week’s words
misophonia
lawfare
gerontocracy
gamesmanship
phonophobia

misophonia
Previous week’s theme
Portmanteaux
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

When I was growing up, my sister was severely annoyed by sounds Dad produced at the dinner table. Sounds of slurping or chewing drove her crazy. It didn’t bother anyone else so we chalked it up to her being oversensitive.

Much later, when I discovered the word misophonia, the first person I thought of was my sister. She was vindicated. She was not being oversensitive. She just couldn’t help it.

That brings us to the bigger point. We might have someone in our life who is afraid of technology, or one who is fearful of flying, or someone who prefers elevators over escalators, and so on. Instead of downplaying it, saying, for example, “Oh, don’t be such a chicken”, we can empathize. Sure, it may be possible for a person to gradually reprogram oneself to become comfortable with whatever annoys them, but the first step for us is to accept them and realize that they didn’t choose to be like that.

Sometimes people ask me if grammar errors greatly annoy me. The way I see it, if I understand what the other person is trying to say, language has done its job. We can choose to ignore misplaced apostrophes and their/there. But we can smile when it happens on giant billboards.

What annoys you in your life? What have you done to overcome it? Share below or email us at words@wordsmith.org.

Meanwhile, this week we’ll look at five words that might make you say: I didn’t know there was a word for it!

misophonia

PRONUNCIATION:
(mi-soh-FOH-nee-uh)

MEANING:
noun: An intolerance of certain sounds, such as chewing, slurping, etc.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek miso- (hate) + -phonia (sound). Earliest documented use: 2001.

USAGE:
“I sipped my coffee, slurping it as loudly as possible to irritate Max. He absolutely hated the sounds people made when eating or drinking -- misophonia, I think.”
Stephanie Berchiolly; Train Bound to Forty; 2022.

“His distinct Long Island accent that hits my misophonia-cursed ears just the wrong way.”
Chapter 1: Back to the Single Life; Cosmopolitan (New York); Feb 2022.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
You have to hold your audience in writing to the very end -- much more than in talking, when people have to be polite and listen to you. -Brenda Ueland, writer (24 Oct 1891-1985)

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