I’m Feeling Quite Gruntled

October 21, 2013

dictionary-picWithout question, the greatest post in the history of Idea Peepshow is Bob Ingrassia’s insightful and hilarious item, “Words Journalists Use That People Never Say.

It’s been almost two years since it was published, and the post still gets attention. Whenever we see a spike in Peepshow traffic, it’s usually because someone has newly discovered Bob’s post and spread it around.

I also love thinking about words and their use. I’ve always been amused by words for which the antonym is never used. For example, people are often referred to as disgruntled, but you rarely hear of anyone who’s gruntled. Actually, I remember once reading something by H.L. Mencken in which he referred to a “gruntled infant.” But that’s the exception that proves the rule.

Here are a few more words and their overlooked opposites. I think we should work more of these into our everyday speech!

Disheveled: Joey looked quite sheveled in his tie and vest.

Inadvertent: John’s advertent insult caused a real kerfuffle.

Inept: Alli proved unusually ept at parallel parking.

Nonplussed: News of the merger left Mike calm and plussed.

Unflappable: When the copier broke down, Rita suddenly felt flapped.

Unkempt: Thanks to liberal use of product, Andrew’s hair was wonderfully kempt.

Can you suggest any others?