Sunday, January 22, 2006

Makin' up words

Did you ever make up any good words or expressions? I made up 3 that I like:

1) Obvuto - Has to do with truth value. An obvuto statement is a statement that is true and useful as long as you appreciate the extent to which it may actually be misleading. For example: "Karate is the art of breaking boards with your bare hands." Most karate practitioners would cringe at that definition, but as a way to explain what karate is to people who have a limited exposure to such things, it can be effective. How useful such a statement is depends on whether the listener understands that the statement is obvuto.

I really like the word, but to tell the truth I don't use it in conversation much. Not unless we're talking about words we made up. :)

2) Smell-deaf - I figure I am about 65% to 70% smell deaf. My wife can smell just about anything. She takes great pride in her acuity of smell. But she is grossed out a lot. (Not by me, of course!) When she was pregnant with our daughter her sensitivity of smell went through the ceiling. She couldn't stand the smell of anything. Almost made a basket case of me trying to arrange the universe of smellery to not offend her. Personally, I get the impression that having a keen sense of smell is mostly a disadvantage unless you live in the wild.

I couldn't find a quick word or phrase that applies to the notion of having a poor sense of smell, so I made up smell deaf. Most people seem to know what I am talking about immediately.

3) Smell frequencies - Somethings I can smell just fine. But I sometimes seem to pick up only certain smell frequencies. My wife once brought home some little white flowers. I think she called them paperwhites. Anyway, she sat them in the living room and went on and on about how nice they smelled. I just ignored them. But awhile later I started smelling burnt rubber. I was a bit alarmed and told my wife that I could smell an wire burning somewhere. She just looked at me funny and said she didn't smell anything. That was weird. I ran around the house in a panic expecting to find an appliance overheating. I ran around and around sniffing everywhere, like that smell-deaf bloodhound (or whatever he is) in Disney's Aristocats. Finally, I sniffed and snuffed my way back to the coffee table in front of the sofa where I was sitting in the first place. To my surprise it was the paperwhites. To me, they smelled just like burning rubber or plastic. To my wife they smelled fragrant and sweet. That's when it dawned on me that I was probably only picking up certain smell frequencies, but not the all same ones my wife was getting.

I have tossed this expression into conversations from time to time. I usually get a comically puzzled reaction. I suppose people who know me might just take it in stride with all the other things I say. I suspect they think I am usually tuned in to a different frequency most of the time. :)


Anonymous Peter said...

Ah! One of my favourties...

Jerry: Boy, do you smell something?

Elaine: Do I smell something? What am I, hard of smelling? Of *course* I smell something.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Phil Plasma said...

I am certainly more smell-deaf than my wife, so in our pool of two examples, we can generalize and say that women are more smell sensitive than men.

With respect to smell frequencies, I'm guessing I am restricted to a small range, hence my relative smell-deafness, while my wife has access to a much larger range.

I'm not much into creating words, I'm more into combining existing words together that don't usally go together. Faith octopus or window floss are examples, and usually I only do this with the written word.

9:19 AM  

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