Author Vocabulary Calendar
Ever suspect that an author has an idiosyncratic Word-of-the-Day Calendar? Some really unusual, often sesquipedalian, word appears in the text, perhaps not used in a completely natural way, and perhaps used in a manner inconsistent with a character's established idiolect. It appears two or three more times in subsequent text, in increasingly unlikely settings and then is never seen again. If it does get used more consistently than that, it overlaps with Author Catchphrase.
This is mostly a literary trope. Although there are examples wherever a single author has a distinguishable voice (or is just plain verbose), shows and movies are usually expensive enough to produce that this gets filtered out, not to mention that TV and movie audiences supposedly have minuscule vocabularies anyhow.
Compare this to Perfectly Cromulent Word, where fictitious words are inserted in an attempt to sound smart, Malaproper, where similar sounding words are used in the place of others and Delusions of Eloquence, where the words do exist but are misused in an attempt to sound smart.
Magic Franchise Word is when this is done by the fans.
- Marvel Comics: EXCELSIOR!
- Ambush Bug: ADVANTAGEOUS!
- Alan Moore apparently loves to have his characters say "apparently". Incidentally, he is also a big fan of the term "incidentally". He uses it instead of "by the way" whenever possible.
- Elongated Man makes note of this phenomenon in an issue of Formerly Known as the Justice League.
- There's a Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfic where Rei's eyes were always being referred to as "alazarin". Alizarin (or "alizarin crimson") happens to be a deep bluish-red pigment—and probably the true color of Rei's eyes, at that. But it still looks like fanfic thesaurusitis.
- In the 1990s, almost every other story featuring Tom Paris from Star Trek: Voyager called his blue eyes "cerulean". Cerulean eyes in story after story. Worst part: cerulean is a specific shade of blue, and his eyes aren't that shade.
- In Pokémon fanfic, Misty's eyes are often "cerulean" as well. They're blue-green, so it's accurate enough, but the real reason is that her gym is located in Cerulean City.
- Harry Potter Turns to the Lord: "There were demons embezzled in Harry's soul."
- Unless he'd stolen the demons, also a You Keep Using That Word. Did the Infernal Revenue Service ever catch him?
- My Immortal: Those limpid tears. Statistically
- There used to be a sample from some unknown fanfic—not the legendary Eye of Argon; this one is even worse—being circulated and mocked on the Net which had prose so purple that it was practically unreadable; unfortunately, all the pages containing it seem to have disappeared. To give an inkling of what it was like: it referred to someone's eyes with the word "syndicates:" "syndicate" -> "circle" -> "orb" -> "eye."
- The authors of Undocumented Features are overly fond of the word "sardonic", which they seem to use to describe every third facial expression.
- Rise Of The Tau, an otherwise awesome fic, uses the various tenses of "thunder" and "coruscate" way too much. One sentence even had two occurrences of "thundered" in it.
- The entire Doctor Who fandom has a perennial love affair with the words "gravitas", "pantomime" and "nadir".
- It seems practically blasphemy not to describe Yugi's eyes as "amethyst-colored orbs." The Yu-Gi-Oh! fanfiction-writing fandom was particularly fond of its overuse of the word "orb." Dear God it was fond of it...
- Many of Hans Von Hozel's So Bad It's Good fanfics use "danube" as a verb.
- Though certainly not a particularly bad offender, one of the later arcs of the Pokémon fic Latias' Journey uses the word "piscene" a few times for some reason.
- Read enough lemons and it won't be long before you get sick of "ministrations".
- The self-published "tribute novel"-slash-sequel to Twilight book Breaking Dawn got the unfortunate title Russet Noon. Russet is a Perfectly Cromulent Word, but since it's most commonly associated with a breed of potatoes (or apples in the UK), this became a source of great mocking.
- The English translation of Knight of Lolicon really likes the word "fulminating". Possibly Justified in that the translation, while readable, is mediocre at best, so it may sound more natural in the original Spanish.
- Parodied in the Death Note fic The Human Whose Name Is Written In This Fanfiction:
"This is apparently what people do when they like each other; they list the physical attributes of the other person using creative metaphors. L so happens to describe Light more like a pastry than an attractive young college student. Readers are supposed to accept this because L likes sweets." And "Misa sniffed, her sapphire eyes wet with tears and her ruby lips shaking (because Misa can only be described using gemstones)."
- 1990s-vintage Ranma ½ fan author "Dreiser" could not describe Ukyo Kuonji without mentioning that her eyes were "sandalwood" in color.
- Let's try Director Vocabulary Calendar...for a laugh, watch the director's commentary for X2: X-Men United some time and take a swig each time Bryan says "ultimately". If you make it all the way through, your liver will never recover.
- "Abomination" in Lilo and Stitch. He's a killer Space-Dropbear! He warrants it! "Imagine, if you will..." also gets used several times in the DVD commentary.
- Alan Dean Foster with book names such as "Phylogenesis".
- Stephen Donaldson, as a Doctor of English, uses some pretty arcane words frequently. The narrator's use of "argent" and "lambent" come to mind. It might be possible to identify a specific year of a specific Word-of-the-Day Calendar with each of Donaldson's books. Good-naturedly covered at Stephen R. Donaldson Ate My Dictionary.
- Notoriously, at one point in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant he describes some creatures as being "featureless and telic, like lambent gangrene."
- Nick Lowe's essay The Well-Tempered Plot Device describes the sport of "Clench Racing" in Donaldson novels.
- The narrator of M. John Harrison's recent science fiction novel Light uses the word "ruched" several times, among others. There's also 'etiolated'?
- In several of Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer stories, written in different decades, the Shakespearean phrase "alarums and excursions" is spoken, each by a different character, none of whom would naturally use this phrase. The first couple of times it is misspelled as "alarms and excursions".
- Rex Stout, creator of gourmand-turned-P.I. Nero Wolfe, made a point of using a few unfamiliar words in every Wolfe story or novel he wrote; the words would usually be utilized by Wolfe himself or his business partner, Archie Goodwin. Given, however, that Nero likes to flaunt his intellect in true Hercule Poirot fashion, Stout may have been doing this as character development - at least when Nero does it. When Archie Goodwin does it, it occasionally approaches Sophisticated As Hell.
- One novel has Wolfe identifying the author of a piece of text by how often particular words show up.
- In one early novel, all the characters are 'ejaculating' all over the place. As in, exclaiming. Very much a case of Have a Gay Old Time.
- Gene Wolfe uses many obscure words, real and otherwise, particularly in The Book of the New Sun. The obscure, but real, word 'tribadist' (lesbian) appears next to the word 'algophilist' (from context, one who enjoys inflicting pain on another, but somehow different from sadist). Algophilia, by the way.
- In a nice bit of Lampshade Hanging, the narrator says this about his teacher: "He mispronounced quite common words: urticate, salpinx, bordereau." What's more, if you look up the meanings, they are words that it would be reasonable for the character in question to know.
- Older Than Radio: Bram Stoker, Dracula, and the word "voluptuous," making this one older than word-of-the-day calendars.
- Mary Shelley likes to use the words "benevolent" and "wretch" in Frankenstein.
- The Tairen Soul books and "claiming".
- China Mieville
- He uses the word "concatenate" and its derivatives too often in Iron Council. It only comes up a few times, but it's such an unusual word that it stands out.
- There's also his frequent use of "puissant". His entire brain appears to be an Author Vocabulary Calendar, to the extent that it requires a dictionary—a large dictionary—to tell which words are obscure technical terms, which ones are Britishisms, and which ones he made up out of whole cloth. If there aren't a dozen five-dollar words on the page—you're probably looking at the title page.
- Miéville uses tons of very obscure words to describe landscapes. If you've taken a few geology classes, you'll know most of these (and that they're not always correct), but you've never seen as many instances of words like "graben" or "arete". Most notable in Iron Council.
- I've found several-fold more instances of "inveigled" (often not particularly correct uses) in Perdido Street Station than I've seen over the rest of my life.
- Perdido Street Station contains a remarkable number of things which are "jagged" or "jags" of some material, also, four things being described as "inchoate" is about three things too many for one book.
- E. E. "Doc" Smith of Lensman fame does this with words like "lambent", "coruscating", etc.
- H.P. Lovecraft had a number of exotic pet words, including "cyclopean," "eldritch," "squamous" (scaly), "rugose" (ridged), "gibbous" (humped), "chthonic" (living in the ground), "charnel" (relating to dead bodies), "non-Euclidean", "Paleogean," and "demoniac." Lovecraft was also attached to the noun "vigintillion," which crops up in both The Dunwich Horror and The Call of Cthulhu, and means either 10^63 or 10^120.
- Charles Stross parodied this in The Atrocity Archive, where "squamous and rugose" is apparently a Running Gag in the house Bob Howard shares with Pinky and the Brain.
- Also parodied in the Munchkin card game, where the words are Monster Enhancement cards, featuring a creature described by the card's adjective and a munchkin looking the word up in a dictionary.
- Lois McMaster Bujold describes approximately two characters per book as "saturnine" - generally, whoever is being the deadpan foil to Miles at the time. The "saturnine" is to emphasize the deadpan. She also uses "dour" a lot. And "waft". "Suasion" and "ingenuous" (as opposed to persuasion and disingenuous) she uses less commonly, but the latter is rare and the former almost nonexistent with anybody else.
- Brave New World considers everything "pneumatic": an overstuffed chair cushion is a "pneumatic chair"; two women ask each other if they are "too pneumatic" the way normal women ask if an outfit makes them look fat; a character even mentions how "pneumatic" Bernard's semi-girlfriend is - after having sex with her. It's always the characters saying it, however, so it's probably more an example of fictional slang than anything.
- It's actually a Real Life period thing. For a while during that time "pneumatic" was a common word (at least among Sci-Fi writers) when referring to women with large breasts and hips. Similar to words like "built", "stacked", "full-figured", "shapely", "voluptuous" and "zaftig". The Demolished Man even refers to plastic surgery as "pneumatic surgery" when referring to a woman who had her breasts enlarged.
- Charles DeLint uses the term "little say" at least once a book.
- In his excellent book about China, travel writer Colin Thubron went through a curious love affair with the word "shriven", which does not mean what he thinks it means. It means "absolved by confession", but he uses it as if it meant something like "wizened, exhausted, dried up." Maybe he was thinking of "shriveled". According to a book review by Scott Malcomson, use and misuse of obscure words is common throughout Thubron's writing: "I'm not at all certain, however, that mare's milk can be 'fomented' (though it is fermented)."
- An odd example -- Steven Brust's fictional narrator Paarfli often uses the phrase "a propos" as a lead-in to paragraphs. "Apropos" is now the name of a software package. About half the time, people incorrectly pronounce the 's', which is silent.
- Piers Anthony can't seem to get through a single book without describing something as "quiescent." He loved using the word balk in the earlier Xanth books.
- Ever notice that Edgar Allan Poe seems to like the word "arabesque"? Also "singular"
- Robert Newcomb's novels, and how! Everything that would normally be blue is "azure"; every single room, meal, and set of clothing is "sumptuous". These are far from the only examples, but Newcomb is particularly bad for only consulting the thesaurus once and then using that obscure word for the rest of his series.
- Garth Nix's Old Kingdom Trilogy: "incipient" appears about ten times in three books and stands out.
- Nix also seems to like the word "inimical", which appears repeatedly in the aforementioned series as well as Keys to the Kingdom.
- Neal Stephenson characters have a thing for referring to Japanese people as Nipponese. "Nippon" is a more accurate English translation of the country's name, it's not nearly as popular a term as Stephenson's writing makes it appear. The word also gets discussed a few times. A character in Snow Crash corrects another character's incorrect usage of the slur "nip," which is taken from the word Nipponese. In another book, a character notes that the Colonel's use of the word "jap" instead of "nip" indicated that he did not serve in Asia.
- Harry Potter:
- In Harry Potter, the word 'surreptitious' is used six times. Interestingly enough, however, it is far less present in the rest of the books.
- The word "rent" meaning "torn apart" is used several times, used figuratively.
- J. K. Rowling is probably the last writer in the English language to use "ejaculated" as an innocuous synonym for "said". She only did it a couple times, but it was memorable enough that the fandom has been taking the mickey out of it ever since.
- "Play a drinking game with the term 'darkly' and... die of alcohol poisoning," he said darkly.
- The Twilight series contains a lot of these, which is slightly understandable since Stephenie Meyer is an English major and her narrator wants to seem sophisticated. Stephenie Meyer's favorite words are "Adonis," "incredulous" and "chuckle." Seriously, characters sometimes "chuckle" (insert adverb here) several times on a single page.
- Apparently "chagrin" as well, if you believe this fanfic
- Likewise, variations on "Sparkle" and "Dazzle" and their similes. Case in point: "He was both dazzling and dazzled".
- "Scintillating" as a much-needed synonym for "sparkling," as in "Edward's scintillating arms." It's actually correct, albeit archaic, usage. In modern English, it's more common to see the word used to mean "witty," as in "scintillating conversation," but the word's original definition is "to emit sparks."
- Mervyn Peake, author of Gormenghast, tends to use the word 'qualm' to mean 'shiver or ripple, as of delight' and, oddly, 'prank' to mean 'blotch or spot, pick out, color, highlight'. Also, the Tower of Flints is a blasphemous finger of stone pointing at the sky.
- Enid Blyton and "lashings" in relation to food, the root of the famous Beam Me Up, Scotty "lashings of ginger beer". Also it's quite fun to imagine Bakura whipping people with a beverage.
- During the writing of Summer Knight, Jim Butcher seems to have fallen in love with the word "basso". Nearly everyone's voice is described as such. It also appears about five times over the course of First Lord's Fury. Butcher is also fond of "chitinous" and "susurrus."
- The man's obsession with thews borders on unnerving.
- Less frequent, but more obscure, are "obstreperous" and "insouciance".
- This trope is Played for Laughs and practically referenced by name in The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries. The narrator actually does have a WOTD calendar and will often look for opportunities to use the words from it.
- Tamora Pierce's characters do everything with "grim good humor." Everyone has "masses" of hair that "fights" to escape its accessories, unless it's "cropped" short. If they're in pain, expect their muscles to "scream." They'll never grab or hold anything, only "grip" it. And more than one character has a "thin blade of a nose" (this is contracted to "thin-bladed nose" on one occasion, which barely makes sense).
- In Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy, characters rarely seem to do anything "quickly," but they're constantly doing things "with alacrity."
- Dan Brown seems to love the phrase "quantum leap". It's used quite liberally in The Lost Symbol.
- David Eddings had an obscurely peculiar fascination with the words "obscure," "peculiar," and "fascination." Also "prosaic", and don't even get me started on how many times a character will say something "blandly".
- Also seem to have abruptly discovered, and fallen in love with, the word "genuflect" during the writing of Polgara the Sorceress.
- Christopher Paolini has this habit when he writes: characters, many of whom do not have any sort of formal education (or are even downright illiterate), strangely have college level vocabularies, even when their status or profession would have them calling something differently. In text, he'll often pull a 25 point word from nowhere because, while he could have used several smaller words, or different ones altogether, he just had to use that big one, even if it chunks up the sentence, ruins the flow, and really has no place being there among such other common words.
- Nobody ever camps out—they "bivouac."
- Which isn't even used correctly half the time, as "bivouac" refers to a strictly no-tents-no-nothing military operation and not just setting up bedrolls and a fire in the woods. It's near-impossible to read the fourth book especially without cringing at Paolini's Delusions of Eloquence.
- He also has a tendency to use words that seriously clash with the Tolkienesque fantasy setting, such as parachuting obviously modern words like "psychedelic" into the middle of a passable imitation-KJV spiel.
- Christopher Paolini basically does this in spades. It's like every character has a Vocabulary Calendar…and no one in-universe seems to notice how bizarre it is. The most excusably eloquent creatures in the world even tell the farmboy that his mastery of the elusive and ancient magical language is "perfect" after only a few months' practice of being literate. Not to mention the rough draft of his apparent anachronistic invention of quasi-autobiographical, modern free-verse poetry.
- Nobody ever camps out—they "bivouac."
- Ian Fleming in the James Bond novels seems to have a fondness for "elegant."
- Raymond E. Feist really, really loves the words "alien" and "quietly". Especially noticeable in his earlier books where "Character Name Sat Quietly" is a noticeably common way of opening a chapter.
- Harry Turtledove's Timeline 191 does this with a made-up word ("flabble", roughly synonymous with "whine") that was eventually invented and popularized in the alternate America of the series.
- The prequel How Few Remain, set in the 19th century, does this with the (then-popular) term "absquatulate".
- Terry Brooks loves to use "dissemble" for lie in the Shannara series.
- Eye of Argon. Nobody ever talks, they ejaculate, eyes are always referred as orbs or something, and there's one mention of a person having a "lithe, opaque nose". Especially special is "posterior," as in "Descending the flight of arced granite slabs to their posterior," because it's obvious that Jim Theis looked up the wrong sense of the word "bottom" in a thesaurus.
- And it misspells and misuses the words nearly every time.
- Scott Westerfelt uses "fawesome" in The Last Days pretty much constantly, like it's the only slang word in existence. The word "fexcellent" is used as well.
- As an Oxford-trained English professor, JRR Tolkien had an exceptionally strong command of the English language, and his use of words like fulminate, haubergeon, confusticate and puissant certainly help establish the grandness (and comedy) of his masterpieces, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
- Robin Hobb uses the word "fellow" a LOT in the Tawny Man Trilogy. With different meanings.
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, we have Troy Denning's "efflux"
- Michael Kaminski, in The Secret History of Star Wars, uses "inevitable" and "inevitably" way too much, and often incorrectly.
- The English translation of The Count of Monte Cristo. There are about seventeen uses of "singular" in one chapter.
- Antony Horowitz has a thing for "somehow" (And Gun Porn, natch, but that's irrelevant).
- Conan stories get a lot of miles out of "lithe" and "supple." And you can always identify the titular barbarian: he's the one who's described as "bronzed" and "tigerish" (or "wolfish") with eyes like "balefire."
- Don't forget his "mighty thews".
- Philip Pullman really likes the word "presently."
- Isaac Asimov seems to really like the word "sardonic".
- Timothy Zahn likes to refer to conversations as " 'words' Character said to the other". He is also a fan of the Punctuation Shaker for alien names.
- Orion Fowl seems to have a thing about bivouacs.
- It's a Running Gag.
- Of late, R.A. Salvatore has eschewed all other way to say "used hand gestures for magic spell" in favor of "waggled their fingers". Waggled? That guy just lightning-ed a lich back to a briny undeath!.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs says describes Tarzan as having a "smooth brown hide" a lot.
- Daniel Handler parodies this through A Series of Unfortunate Events, using a big word then providing a definition that probably isn't accurate, but which does give a decent sense of the meaning intended for the situation. Also, it's funny if you know the word already.
- Charlotte Bronte really seemed to enjoy describing black things, particularly people's black hair or eyebrows, as "jetty."
- The Ciaphas Cain book Duty Calls may create an allergy to the word "scuttling" (as in "scuttling horrors", "scuttling movement", "scuttling noises" and pretty much everthing else related to Tyranids) in its readers.
- Bernard Cornwell, in the Sharpe series and elsewhere, likes using the word "flensed" in the context of battle wounds.
- George R. R. Martin has a thing for using the word song in book titles. His novel series is called A Song of Ice and Fire, and his other works include A Song for Lya, Songs of Stars and Shadows, and Songs Dead Men Sing. Not to mention two story collections he edited, Songs of The Dying Earth and Songs of Love and Death.
- It comes up within A Song of Ice and Fire as well. Turnips and the use of "jape" (occasionally "jest") instead of "joke" stand out most in the latest novel. It's not always clear whether they are deliberate attempts to get a more old-fashioned feeling for his medieval-esque world, or this trope.
- "Half a hundred" is clearly his favorite number, and "half a heartbeat" his favorite length of time. (It starts out with "in a heartbeat" simply being overused; then "in/for half a heartbeat" is introduced and takes over in a big way. By A Dance with Dragons time is being measured in integers-greater-than-one of heartbeats.) He also uses "raper" instead of "rapist" for some reason, and "craven" as a noun much more often than "coward." Vomiting is only ever "retching" (which is confusing, since that usually means to gag without actually puking).
- In A Dance with Dragons the world 'leal' seemed to be on every other page.
- Throughout the Honor Harrington series, characters having a purportedly casual conversation will constantly make references to "lofty rank" and suchlike.
- Amelia Peabody Emerson never fails to describe her husband's eyes as "sappharine". However, as it's explained in the various books' prologues that Amelia had edited her diaries with an eye for their eventual publication, this is probably a deliberate humorous instance intended to highlight Amelia's literary pretensions.
- Kids in The Hall did this in universe with a sketch where a guy on a construction site constantly used the word "ascertain" and proceeds to force various conjugations of it when the foreman calls him on it and requests that he stops. The sketch ends when the foreman thanks the man for the opportunity to "delineate" the problem. Delineate appeared on the screen and the man experienced a Eureka Moment through the fourth wall.
- In Poirot, the writers actually had a game to see how many times they could get the character Hastings to say "Good Lord!" or "I say!"
- YouTube recently got some Fully-Automatic Clip Show videos demonstrating such repetition: Metallica likes death, Slayer likes Satan, Megadeth likes to kill (and life - that one is probably motivated by Metallica's one), and ACDC likes rock n' roll.
- Nine Inch Nails: a lot.
- Green Day really likes "testify," "suicide," and any reference to crucifixion.
- Also "cigarettes." It appears at least once in very album they have ever put out, and was almost part of an album title.
- Any song off of the Bad Religion album "Suffer" pretty much qualifies:
I heard them say that the meek shall reign on earth
- It seems Rhapsody of Fire say "Mighty" at least once a song, on their older albums at least
- Oceanborn by Nightwish, with "Stargazers" as the most obvious example. Granted, Tuomas Holopainen was barely 19 when he wrote that stuff.
- Disturbed tends to use the word "hell" a lot, including a song carrying the name. Averted by "Shout 2000" however; it's a cover with "Gave'em hell" already in its lyrics.
- The list of Rammstein songs that reference the sun shining in some way includes "Rammstein," "Engel," "Küss Mich (Fellfrosch)," "Mein Herz Brennt," "Sonne," "Mutter," "Morgenstern," "Mann Gegen Mann" and "Hilf Mir." Liebe Ist Für Alle Da is the only album where this theme does not come up.
- Hymn writers do this frequently, and not just because of common subject matter; for example, Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) seemed to have a particular thing for vineyards, especially "The Vineyard". In her defence, she wrote over 8,000 religious poems, so some repetition is inevitable.
- Similar to the Rammstein example above, The Beatles also have a thing for the sun, mentioning it in at least a dozen songs, and including as a part of song titles a few times as well. Makes a bit more sense considering that they're most often thought of as writing "happy" music.
- Kamelot lyrics seem to like to use carmine wherever a word meaning a shade of red needs to be used.
- Britney Spears: Known to use "Baby" and "Crazy" to the extent special videos have been made about her habit of using these words.
- Ville Valo of the Finnish love metal band HIM seems to have a fixation on the words "baby" and "darling", and will put these two words into his lyrics whenever possible. Same goes for "six six six".
- Gary Gygax put a noticeable stamp on the first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons books. "Dweomer" and "weal" win for obscurity; "notwithstanding" for frequency. Also "former" and "latter." He also loved (i.e., used all the time) Latin abbreviations (e.g., e.g. and i.e.), even really academic ones, (e.g., Ibid. and Op. cit.) placed in ordinary text (Ibid.) The first edition Dungeon Master's Guide is full of these. Most memorable: referring a built-in ability to swim as "innate natatorial ability". The Prostitute Table in the City appendix has about a dozen different synonyms for prostitute (trollop, streetwalker, etc.)
- When reading the "Fiend Folio", a monster handbook dealing with fiends you will stumble over the word emaciated many times. I wonder if these fiends don't get enough to eat.
- FATAL has ample amounts of atypical alliterations applied in appellations of accidental alchemical aftereffects and articles.
- The developers of Warcraft / World of Warcraft really, REALLY like the word "azure."
- Wild ARMs 3 was localized by long-time Final Fantasy translator Alexander O. Smith. How can you tell? He is pretty much the only game translator active today that uses the word "moreover" more than once per script.
- Yunalesca just won't shut up about "hope".
- Kinoko Nasu's works, whether it be on behalf of the translators or himself, will always feature "with murderous intent" as a description. And that's not mentioning the sex scenes and mollusks.
- Kira Kira and other OVERDRIVE games have characters that "smile bitterly". What exactly is a bitter smile? Who knows.
Mike: Never say "posterior" again.
- ACTUAL QUOTE TIME "I try to use at least one obscure word or neologism for every ten or so "fuck"'s. Keeps me intellectually honest." - Bryan Lambert, You Are Dumb
- Wikipedia falls victim to it occasionally, too. See here, with the word "calcimine". This is common enough with some words that xkcd made fun of it.
- On the Rooster Teeth Drunk Tank podcast, staff member (and former journalist) Geoff Lazer Ramsey consistently uses the word "penultimate" as though it were an intensified synonym for "ultimate". This is not only incorrect, given the meaning of "penultimate", but quite insane given the meaning of "ultimate" (i.e. no further intensity is either necessary or possible).
- A comment on Cracked.com's The 7 Most Horrifying Things Ever Discovered in the Human Body points out the site's liking for the word "baffling".
- A video commentary of a Mega Man 3 run by The Megas ends up on this topic. Can be found a few seconds after the nine minute mark.
- This is extra hilarious when it comes up again at the beginning of Part 6.
- Diane Castle of the Whateley Universe trots out some new vocab in every Phase novel. Since when does a fourteen year old use the word 'propaedeutic' or 'fictile'?
- Since said fourteen year old has an eidetic memory, the best schooling his billionaire parents could buy, a need to appear mature and intelligent among businessmen and politicians, and a personal preference for sounding smarter than those he's talking to. Note that Ms. Castle only uses words like that when writing from Phase's perspective, dropping back to a more normal vocabulary when writing as Aquerna or other more normal teenagers.
- JLU episode "Question Authority": The Question tells Luthor "while my distaste for you as a human being is brobdingnagian, what I am about to do isn't personal."
- "Brobdingagian" comes from the name of the land of giants in Gulliver's Travels, and nowadays means "outrageously huge".
- Somebody on the writing staff of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic really likes the word "frou-frou".