The other day, listening to the Republican front-runner read one of his few prepared speeches, I was brought up short to hear him say “perpetuate.” It was like spotting a turd in the punchbowl, only the other way around. A punch in the turd bowl?
For example, I have had entire classes — and it's not just that they don't want to speak in class, since I call on them and try to make them come up with an answer — unable to define the following:These days the short-fingered vulgarian would seem to be more than ready for college-level work.
– Precipitate (as in to cause an event)
Of those, only bicameral could be considered a Term of Art unique to the subject. The others are just..words. They’re words that I use without conscious thought and the idea of any adult high school graduate being unable to make sense of them doesn’t occur to me. And without getting into specifics, this is merely a sample of words I have to stop and define routinely and for which entire classes are unable to divine the meaning. On an individual basis I get asked to define words on an exam or in a lecture all the time, some of which…I mean, if a student does not know I’m glad that he or she asks to have it defined, but…I’ve had to stifle the “Are you serious?” reaction a handful of times. You would too, trust me.