During my time as an English teacher, I had the opportunity to introduce students to many new words. Some curriculum had LONG lists which I loathed, because who can add a whole list of words to their vocabulary in one week? At least I assumed vocabulary acquisition was the goal. If it was just to revel in the number of words taught then I view that as absolutely pointless. What is the point of teaching something that isn't meant to be retained? I also loathed having to teach spelling because I can not spell. It's always been awful for me. I might memorize it for a test, but very few words stick with me. I am so eternally thankful for spell check and for Google when my spelling is so bad that I need to Google the word to know how to spell it. "Did you mean _____?" is an absolute lifesaver. Bad spellers, you know what I'm talking about . . . Okay, it appears I've gone a little off track. Moving on to the word -
Today's Word: Superfluous
Four syllables. Pronounced [soo-PUR-floo-uh s] Adjective - Defined in the OAD as "more than is needed; unnecessary." I would give you the definition provided by Dictionary.com, but that would be superfluous. (See what I did there?)
I remember around 2004, trying to teach this word to a group of ninth graders. It was on our vocab list, but they were having none of it. "Why do we need to learn another word for extra? Why can't I just use extra?" (You can add in a whiny tone and accompanying eye rolls.) I tried to explain the benefits of having a vocabulary with depth, without much success. Then I remembered a scene from the recently released Pirates of the Caribbean when Jack Sparrow uses the word. After pointing out that Jack Sparrow used superfluous it got so much cooler and they were willing to give it a go.
That's the marvelous thing about learning new words. They can come from any number of places and even pirates know it's wise to have a wide vocabulary.
"A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one."