In case you aren't familiar with it, corpulent is just a fancy word for fat. If someone calls you corpulent, it is not a compliment. LOL I learned that from the Word-a-Day newsletter, which I love. If you haven't subscribed yet, go on over to Wordsmith and do so. You'll get a quick note each day about a new word, learn some fascinating facts about words, and feel smarter! (I can never remember half the words later, but it's still fun.)
One of the amusing things about the movie, Appaloosa, is the character Virgil Cole's penchant for "big" words, which he can't ever seem to remember without the help of his friend, Everett Hitch. We sometimes think of our ancestors speaking mostly in one-syllable words, but the truth is that our conversations are the ones that have "dumbed down" over the years. I think the current reading level for most newspapers is targeted at sixth grade.
The new reading series we use at school includes a daily lesson called "robust vocabulary". It's aim is to not only teach children new words, but to make sure the definitions of those words are written in terms the children will understand and remember. Many teachers send the word list and definitions home to share with parents.
I'm also teaching my kindergarten students to use a dictionary. We have a simple children's dictionary with illustrations and we look up a word to go along with our letter of the week. I'm not sure some of them had ever seen or heard of a dictionary before. I guess many parents don't feel the need to keep one! I have to admit that I don't open mine much now that I have Merriam Webster online.
One of my mother's favorite words was prevaricate. Most people who are familiar with the word think it means to lie. Actually it means to deviate from the truth, which isn't quite the same thing. I think that's why she liked the word so much. My father is a great example of a person who prevaricates. He embellishes, exaggerates, and emphasizes, but he never (okay hardly ever) out and out lies. LOL He's a "storyteller".
So...sign up for the newsletter and have fun with a new word today. Impress your co-workers. Feel smarter. And look up one of my favorite words if you aren't already familiar with it: FELICITY.