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21 Days to a Bigger Vocabulary - Day 4

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Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Merry Christmas, early!  You get a bonus word because I couldn't decide between the two.

dunderhead

Pronunciation:  DUN-der-hed

Definition:  A stupid person; a dunce

I've always loved this word which isn't used nearly enough and sounds markedly British. 

I last saw it used by either Sherlock Holmes or Watson - I can't remember which.  A couple of years ago I spent 6-weeks, that is to say I tapped out my library book extensions, ingesting every volume of Doyle's work starring the mastermind Holmes - who is anything but a dunderhead.  I fell in love.  If there were one fictional character who I could breathe life into, it would be Sherlock.  Of course, that's the alter-Cindy talking; the one who would fall full throttle in love with a cocaine-snorting-woman-hating-genius-eccentric. I digress.

When would you use dunderhead?  Anytime you'd use stupid, idiot, imbecile, nitwit, half-wit, nincompoop, boob, dope, or dork.  That's never for we Christians, right? 

Ah, well, for those of us who fall short of Christ's example, get creative!  Use it in a hearty Shakespearean insult:  "Thou errant, knotty-pated dunderhead!"

Please forgive alter-Cindy; she knoweth not whatfore she doth.

Ahem, next word...

dunnage

pronunciation:  DUN-ij

Definition:  The loose packing material used to protect cargo.

What comes to mind are those blasted, polystyrene packing peanuts.  My kids are drawn to them like  my bare foot to the corner of a misplaced Lego block.  Within moments of tearing into the package my house is littered with crushed foam pieces that magically flit away from both broom and vacuum.  Whose bright invention was the packing peanut, anyway?  What dunnage seeking dunderhead thought that was a good idea?  Not one with kids, I'm certain.

 
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