Ripped Your Shoji? Spend Some Razoos on Mucilage
I’ve ‘futzed’ around lately on the Scrabble app produced by EA. Most levels aren’t very challenging, but ‘custom play’, difficulty level ‘hard’, is insane. Some of the words it puts down are so audacious that I LOL (an acronym, so would score zero). It regularly lays down words that use up all its letters on a triple word score and so racks up shed-loads of points, such as denarius (roman coins – 77 points), granules (80 points), dowsabel (sweetheart – 92 points) and mucilage (glue – 92 points). Other words may not score quite so impressively but are just stonking: sfumato (an effect of blending colours), induviate (the adjective of induviae, which are the withered leaves persistent on the stems of some plants) and yird (earth), in which you might bury morlings (dead sheep). Even my spell-check rejects those words.
I have a British dictionary which weighs 2.5 kg but it doesn’t recognize some of the (American?) words that the app allows, such as qaid, doolee, coala, qis and trigo). The app rarely takes a turn that uses letters to make up only one word; often it puts them down in such a way that it creates three or four words at once. And it’s a demon with two letters, from aa (volcanic rock) to ut (a syllable representing the first note of the scale). The one time I’ve beaten it was the only time it scored less than four hundred and that’s because it had drek letters.
In business writing, obscure words are close to useless because the usual aim is to be as clear and straightforward as possible. Creative writing, blogs and journalistic opinion pieces allow a bit more latitude to sprinkle in the odd word to enrich, if not to show off. AA Gill, who writes for The Sunday Times, is a great one for that (enriching, rather than showing off, I think), regularly throwing in phrases like “preternaturally pulchritudinous” to keep readers on their toes.
Have a go at the Scrabble app. I predict it won’t be long before you have to take codeias for the doole before having a little lie down on a rya.