3 Great ‘S’ Words to Use This Week: Shilly-shally, Sunder, and Supercilious

I get bored with saying the same things over and over again. So I don’t. Perhaps you’d like to mix it up a bit as well?

Sometimes, you have to mix it up a bit with some new vocabulary. Here’s a few ‘S’ words you can start learning this weekend and start shoehorning into everyday conversation this week. People will love, hate, or be indifferent to you (as always), so you might as well have some fun with what they hear coming out of your mouth.

Shilly-shally (V, Adv, N, or Adj): To show hesitation or irresolution. To Dither. To be Undecided.

It’s a rare occasion one gets to sound like a five year old and express something only an old person would care about – hesitation or indecision. Shilly-shally makes it happen.

“I’ve been shilly-shallying all day,” you could say as you watch the click tick from 11:59 a.m. to noon, marking the third-straight hour of staring blankly into your computer monitors.

You could express frustration during an NFL playoff game and say, “Those shilly-shally motherfuckers have been taking all day to score any points!” and watch as your sports-fanatic friends look at you in confusion and possible disgust.

Any which way you go, it’s a great way to make a statement: I am a learned person, but I like talking like a toddler. It’s the dichotomy of man. Now stop shilly-shallying get me some juice.

Sunder (V): To split apart, become parted, or break in two.

Here’s one for modern times. “America’s sunder hasn’t been this apparent since 1968.”

“When I speak, the crowd sunders like Moses walking through a body of water. I tend to have that effect on people.”

The great part about sunder is its blunt sound. Instead of simply saying something is breaking or splitting apart, you can say it’s sundering. Then you stop speaking and leave it in the air and allow your words to swing like a pendulum into the stomach of the listener like a battering ram. Hear that gasp? That’s the wind being sundered from their body.

Sunder sounds cool. It looks vaguely mean. It rhymes with a lot (under, plunder, encumber). It’s blunt. It describes modern America. It’s a word for modern times and a word to knock the wind out of your listener or reader.

Supercilious (V or N): Patronizingly or disdainfully proud. Cooly haughty.

Right now, I’m thinking about you reading this and flashing a supercilious grin. The social capital that comes with defining words in a blog post is sure to net me a free beer or free Big Mac at some point.

This is a great word to disarm someone who is overly proud of something they’ve done in a seemingly nice and friendly way. “You’re acting supercilious about this blog post, but I’ve found a few errors,” a future friendly reader may send my way. Point taken.

Don’t be supercilious about your vocabulary. Stop shilly-shallying and shoehorn these words into what you say this week. You may notice a sunder in your listeners: Some will think you’re brilliant, some may think you’re just making words up. Your reward? The looks of confusion and admiration you receive. Well-earned, my friend. Well-earned.

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