Two great words *UPDATED*

I came across two great words in my reading today and wanted to share them with you:

The first word is irenic, which is an adjective meaning “tending to promote peace or reconciliation; peaceful or conciliatory.” I read this word in Emmett Tyrrell’s article about the irreconcilability between Palestinians and peace.

The second word is otiose, another adjective, this one meaning “being at leisure, idle, indolent; ineffective or futile; superfluous or useless.” This word first made itself known to me in Dorothy Sayer’s Gaudy Night. I’d never seen it elsewhere until this morning, when I was reading Michael Barone’s Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America’s Founding Fathers.

Aren’t those lovely words? I hope I remember them long enough to use them in some of my own writing.

UPDATE:  After reading the above post, Soccer Dad sent me a link to an amazing word oriented website called “Futility Closet.”  The top post there right now is an amazing advertisement from the 1890s, which was clearly written with a thesaurus close to the author’s hand.  That advertisement reminded me me of one of my Dad’s stories.

Back in the 1960s, when he sold insurance (and what a terrible insurance salesman he was), his boss, whom he did not like, asked my Dad to write a letter praising the boss.  My Dad, who had a masterful grasp of English, wrote a beautiful letter saying exactly what he thought of the boss.  He then went to his dictionary and, for every noun and adjective in the letter, as well as for some of the verbs, he picked, at random, the most obscure, polysyllabic nouns, adjectives and verbs he could find, and substituted them in place of his original word choices.  The resulting letter was beautifully structured, multi-syllabic, and complete gibberish.

The next day, the boss came up to him.  My Dad tensed.  “Ed,” the boss said, “I want you to know that, in my 25 years in the insurance business, that was the most beautiful letter I’ve ever seen.  Thank you so much.”