July 28, 2010

Word of the Week: Objurgate

Posted in Word Fun tagged , at 8:42 am by The Word Jar

Nightmare-inducing image courtesy of SXC

Summer is here, and it seems that more often than not, the creepy crawlies prefer my air conditioned abode over the heat and humidity of their native outdoors. This can be a problem if you hate creepy crawlies, as I do. It becomes all-out war, with any and all weapons allowed. One of the most vile creatures to come across (indoors or outdoors) is the house centipede (pictured at left). Not only do they look like they are from another planet, they are natural sprinters. Fast. Very fast.

It’s not easy to get rid of these things…insecticides (oh no, I’m not above chemical warfare) only seem to make them run faster, and if you try to squish them with a pile of paper towels (you need a pile, otherwise you feel the squish), you better be fast and have good aim, because they will gladly lose a limb (or two or three) in an escape attempt. And then they will still sprint off at Olympic speed.

But I digress…I believe the purpose of this post was to highlight objurgate.

In an effort to bolster my battle-weary spirits, my neighbor recently sent me the following poem by Ogden Nash:

The Centipede

I objurgate the centipede,
A bug we do not really need.
At sleepy-time he beats a path
Straight to the bedroom or the bath.
You always wallop where he’s not,
Or, if he is, he makes a spot.

Right when I begin to feel all smug and literate, up pops a word I’ve never seen before, much like a creepy crawlie you suddenly notice racing across your kitchen floor. So, I had to grab the dictionary (which would be an awesome weapon against the vermin, if only I were willing to soil its precious and pristine cover). Objurgate means to rebuke harshly. That’s nice and all, but it takes a stronger word than objurgate to convey my true feelings about these alien beasts. Plus, it doesn’ t mean “destroy.” The poem at least gave me a good chuckle, and I felt a momentary camaraderie with Mr. Nash.

So, if you come across any unwanted creepy crawlies in your house this summer, feel free to objurgate the heck out of them. Then destroy them.

(If the image above isn’t enough to freak you out, maybe this video of House Centipede vs. House Spider is. Watch at your own risk. You’ve been warned.)

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