Someone actually once asked me,
"Why are you talking like an Edwardian?"... (Eh?)
My crime? I'd answered a humdrum question spontaneously - but had made the mistake of using a 'biggish' word.
Thing is, I can't even remember what I'd said, I honestly hadn't contrived to use a big word, my head just formed the sentence and out it popped.
So after years of 'stick', I'm considering my options:
I could assume everyone I meet is lexically challenged and contrive to replace any, clearly inflammatory, 'biggish' words that come into my head, with a clumsy cluster of short, not quite as perfect ones. It's inverted snobbery of a sort and I feel ashamed when I do it but it certainly avoids that chorus of "Oooh, who ate their dictionary for breakfast then"?
Watch out, they don't even have to be big, anything unfamiliar sounding is also a minefield. On being asked how my day had been, I once answered "Frenetic". Won't do that again. Here's another recent example:
Me: (In response to the M&S moussaka we're eating) "Really good, not at all watery - it's like the all vegetables have been cooked off before assembly."
Oh, got major grief for that one…
Me: "OK, what would you have said?"
He: "… putting it together".
Me: "That's 3 words where one did fine!".
I'm going to argue further that my one big word is more akin to 'slang' in that it abbreviated the sentence.
Come to think of it, that was the same person who hasn't given me a single game of scrabble since I got 'oxymoron' on a triple word score...
- Word up!