Weird Words: 2017’s top five office discombobulators

Here at HN we’re passionate about clarity in our B2B copywriting services, but we’re also big fans of a peculiar word every now and then.

Now, if you enjoyed our top five Christmas weird words, then we have a treat for you — five more weird and wonderful words. This time around they all have business applications, but if you manage to weave any of these into your next meeting, we’ll be seriously impressed!

5. Eventuate

Number 5 on our list is ‘eventuate’. It sounds like one of those words that’s just been made up by some self-made business guru, and therein may lie its downfall — using it may make you look like one of those people who says ‘paradigm’ a lot, and that’s not good.
Definition — ‘Eventuate’ is a verb meaning to result in [something].
Origin — It’s a combination of the Latin words ‘eventus’ (event) and ‘actuare’ (carry out), and it originated in the US. The Oxford Dictionary states, rather wearily we think, “still regarded as an Americanism, though it has been employed by good writers in England.”
How you might use it — “Our Christmas campaign was a rousing success, and it should eventuate in us all getting bonuses this year.”
HN Weirdness Rating — 4/10

4. Asseverate

We particularly like this one because it sounds like a cruel and unusual medieval punishment, but is actually quite positive. Lots of potential for fun, then.
Definition — ‘Asseverate’, another verb, means to solemnly affirm [something]… to avouch or assert.
Origin — It comes from the Latin ‘assevērāre’ (to assert seriously).
How you might use it — There are plenty of ways you can use this in a business context but you can have particular fun with it if you work in HR or management: sit the employee down, fix them in your gaze and say, “We’ve been reviewing your performance this year and we can asseverate… that you’re employee of the year! Congrats!!”
HN Weirdness Rating — 6/10

3. Transpicuous

If there’s one thing we love at HN as much as words, it’s an example of delicious irony and this is a case in point because…
Definition — When applied to language, ‘transpicuous’ means plain, clear in meaning.
Origin — This word is also derived from Latin (we’re seeing a pattern here), from ‘transpicĕre’, which means to look or see through.
How you might use it — How about, “There’s a conspicuous lack of clarity in this social media strategy; I think we need to consult HN! They’re good at making things transpicuous.
HN Weirdness Rating — 7.5/10

2. Foofaraw

We’re comfortably into weirdness territory with this one, and the great thing is, however you think it’s spelled is probably correct. The OED lists no fewer than 25 different variations, so you can really unleash your creativity here.
Definition — ‘Foofaraw’ works as a noun or an adjective, referring to something that is fussy or flashy, or much ado about nothing.
Origin — With multiple origins, ‘foofaraw’ borrows from the French ‘fanfaron’ and the Spanish ‘fanfarrón’ (both meaning braggart (n) or boastful/swaggering (adj)), and had life breathed into it by our US cousins once more.
How you might use it — Lean back in your chair, suck the air through your teeth and assert (asseverate?), “If we managed to cut the foofaraw in this meeting, you never know what might eventuate…we could actually get somewhere!” Note: The mere use of the word ‘foofaraw’ is likely to result in foofaraw.
HN Weirdness Rating — 9/10

1. Footle

Well, the looks I’m getting from the rest of the office suggest I should probably make myself busy elsewhere. So this will be our last weird and wonderful word… for now.
Definition — Does it mean futile perhaps? Or is it more like pootle? Well the answer is yes… to both. ‘Footle’ means to act or talk foolishly; to waste time.
Origin — The origin isn’t clear on this one but it’s very similar to, and possibly derived from, the Scottish/Irish word ‘footer’, which means to busy oneself in an aimless, ineffectual or clumsy manner.
How you might use it — “Why don’t you stop footling around with that blog post and make the tea?” That never happens at HN HQ of course…
HN Weirdness Rating — 10/10

We hope you liked our choice of weird words; why not share some of your favourites?

And if you’d like some help cutting through the foofaraw and making your marketing content more transpicuous, you can always give us a call on 01628 622187.

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