Introducing: The Friday Five

Being primarily a budding writer, I understand the importance of words. Being somewhat of a media philosopher, I understand how current language can define a society.
So, in the interest of creating a weekly bit to keep myself disciplined, each Friday I will present five words I find intriguing for some reason or another. From henceforth, they shall be known as the Friday Five (because I’m a sucker for alliteration).

1. Lilliputian– adj.

  • extremely small; tiny; diminutive
  • petty; trivial

I’d like to begin today with a shout-out to one of my close friends who posted a Facebook status about this word. Lilliputian is an amazing word because it is a direct allusion to the miniature inhabitants of the island of Lilliput in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

Definitely a nightmare. Source.

Imagine, writing a book so influential your fictional country takes on a meaning of its own! I tried to read Gulliver’s Travels when I was about eight (for the AR points, mainly), and failed miserably. Something tells me I might have to give it another chance.

2. Bourgie– adj. (slang)

  • obsessed with material possessions
  • stuck-up; pretentious

Ke$ha once again sent me to school. Check out the chorus of Sleazy.

I know what bourgeoisie means (even if I can’t spell it correctly on the first attempt), but it took me forever to put two and two together. You can guarantee I’ll induct this word into my “Girls’ Night Out” vocab.  
3. Mediocre– adj. 
  • of moderate quality; not very good
  • neither good nor bad
  • rather poor or inferior

Mediocre is not a forgotten word or anything like that, we all know it and use it, but it’s definitely one of my favorites. It just rolls off the tongue and sounds exactly like its meaning. But I have some strong ties to this word. Sophomore year of high school, my friend Emily came over so I could teach her some guitar. Of course, this didn’t happen. Somehow, we decided the word “mediocre” sounded a lot like a medicine, which lead to the creation of the fictional drug “Medicore: for the hardcore in you.”
We created a theme song to be sung to the tune of the guitar solo from “Smoke on the Water,” which was as far as we’d gotten in our guitar lessons:

Brain dam-age/ Brain dam-age, yeah!/ You will get/ brain dam-age 

Wrap your mind around that, folks. We filmed a commercial, but we swore a bit and when my mom found it she erased it. (C’mon, mom! We were being hardcore!) Sad day. 

4. Grok– v. (slang)
  • to understand thoroughly and emphatically

Coined by sci-fi novelist Robert Heinlein in the sixties and discovered by me in Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. This word is just as fun to use as mediocre, but definitely does not sound like its meaning. Grok. It makes me want to say, “Yeah, I grok you, man,” and dress like a beatnik.


5. Hoary– adj. 
  • gray or white, as if with age
  • extremely old

When I read this word in my Comp II textbook, my first thought was, “Whore-y? Hoagie? WTF?” But it seems my ignorance has once again got the best of me. According to, hoary is first seen used in Beowulf (c. 8th-11th century AD). In those times, hoar meant a greyish-white color, and so, as we do all the time, people just stuck a -y on the end and made it an adjective. It amazes me how much we think humans have changed, when in reality people have been creating slang since the dawn of time.


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