As those of you "of a certain age" may recognize from the headline, I've been watching reruns of "Get Smart" on TV again. It's probably best for my schedule that I can find them at a decent hour only one night a week.
Discussing the adventures of the amazingly inept Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, recently led me into a misguided attempt to try to imitate the voice of the man who played 86 so well, Don Adams. Trouble is, Adams' distinctive, razor-sharp voice is inimitable.
Oh well, I thought -- there's another word worth defending: inimitable.
Like the others which have appeared in this space, "inimitable" doesn't get used much. I think that's partly because so many things are imitations these days, but I also think that it's because it's a hard word to talk about. (But try pronouncing it -- it can be fun!)
So to go along with "inimitable" itself, here are a few other inimitable words worth defending. (If that's a stretch, sorry about that.)
I don't see the word "problem" getting out much anymore. People have issues, matters, troubles, even crises... but heaven forbid, not a problem (unless it's in that expression, "not a problem"). To me, calling something a problem isn't an insult -- problems can be solved. I'm not so sure that "issues" can. So don't have a problem with using the word problem!
I grew up hearing about used cars, used clothing and other "used" things. Poor old "used" doesn't get out very much anymore either, but I'll defend it. "Used" is so much clearer than "pre-driven," "pre-owned" and all the other "pre-" words that try to get around it. Used bookstores are full of tempting treasures, in my book... so why not consider other "used" things treasures, too?
"One-day" seems to need some defense, too. I keep seeing "One-day sales" advertised which are scheduled for a named date with a "preview" the day before. Folks, that's a two-day sale -- exclusive enough and much more accurate.
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Filed under: Words Worth Defending