that’s a new one

I heard a guy on NPR yesterday use the word “ideation”, which I’d not heard before.  It’s supposed to mean “the thought process” or “conceptualizing an idea”.  Have not heard of it, ever.  Now I’ll probably hear somebody use it or see it in the newspaper or something in the next few days.  Also, today my dentist used a word in an unfamiliar way – he was talking about chewing on something when you have a fragile tooth, and he described that as “your teeth are functioning away”.  I don’t think “functioning” is clearer than chewing, but it sounds a little more like a medical term.  I say, if you’re a dentist, it’s time to get comfortable talking about chewing.  Same with “ideation”.  If the guy hadn’t followed it immediately with “his thought process”, I wouldn’t have known what he was talking about.  As Laurie Anderson once said: “Talk normal.”

2 Comments

  1. It’s one of those words to use when you want the hearer or reader to either struggle a bit or be admitted to the club of others with your erudition. Like using quotidian when you could say everyday. Not a brand new word, though, apparently …

    This site (just heard of it today) is fun for ideating about word use: http://www.wordnik.com/words/ideation

    Here can be found new words too, like hamdemic and aporkalypse for the swine flu pandemic.

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