Trina Machacek: Budgeting for expensive words

Just this week I had an opportunity to use the word cognizant. What a wonderful word. I call that a three dollar word. In my world there are very few times that a three dollar word just fits a situation. I live a very regular lifestyle. I like three dollar words they make me feel smart. Some think smart is a perception of ones worth. I think I am worth about three bucks. Unless I am betting on a football game — then I am worth five bucks. Five bucks is my ball game betting limit.

Words can make or break you in a conversation. Daily conversations hardly ever need bigger words than my normal vocabulary. But! Yes a multilayered “but.” (Now there’s a visual!) But sometimes using words that are outside the box is kinda fun. Not just in English. There are tons, tons I say, of other words from a few other languages that seep into my daily life.

I only speak English. I wish I would have paid more attention to my Spanish class and teacher in high school. I lasted like three days before it became abundantly clear that my brain could only hold English and I transferred out of Mr. Cooper’s class and drudged through a year of journalism. But look where I ended up! Some one up there knew me better than I knew myself.

However some Spanish did stick and I am glad for a few words that I can pepper my conversations with. Of course I don’t think some of the south of the border words I have picked up over the years would have EVER been taught in freshman Spanish!

New words are created all the time. Sadly though there are also words that are dropped from the rolls of being commonly used and those words are somehow voted on to be dropped from the dictionary. How does a word fall out of favor with a group of self appointed men and women who then kick it out of the dictionary? Every year there is a list of words that will be discontinued. Words are not like last year’s style of clothes to be tossed on a pile and tried to be forgotten. Like a Nehru jacket. Uh, yes I had to Google how to spell Nehru. Just like I am sure there are people who will have to Google to see what a Nehru jacket is and upon seeing one know exactly why they fell out of favor with the stylish public. Kinda like Earth Shoes. Moving on.

I am not too much of a news watcher. So it’s a mystery to me how I even hear the list of words that will be dropped from the dictionary annually. It’s sad really that some words aren’t used more. I like the word matronly. To me matronly is a warm word. Not really a three dollar word. More like a buck fifteen. I haven’t used matronly in its context in a long time but I would never throw it out. Then there are those words that are made up to blend us into the new world.

Example? Well I am so happy you asked. How about craftivist? One who is into crafts and craft supplies and crafting and creating craft items. In other words kinda artsy. Yes an artist. Apparently artist is, for some people, considered a touch too highbrow to include craftivists. So the men and women who make handmade things are not to be considered artist, they will now be called craftivists. I believe if you can create something from nothing you are an artist. And that is your craft. Kinda roundy round isn’t it?

This week I was in a position to discuss the past. A motivational speaker was touting on how to be a better person. Among other ideas it was suggested how you should not consider the past. Live today. In the moment. Forget the past least you get bogged down by it.

Oh I fell on that like the matronly woman I am. I said many words on the subject. Some were three dollar words but mostly just regular words. Like the line, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it — well the bad stuff for sure. But the good stuff of the past too. That is what made me think of words.

I may not be highbrow but I can use three dollar words. Just enough in my comings and goings to get me from the beaudacious chick-a-dee I know I am to the stupefying little thing I hope to become. That’ll be six bucks please.

Trina Machacek lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book, They Call Me Weener is available at or e-mail her for a signed copy at


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