Making the World More Understandable

Category Archives: Words

My thoughts and comments on the building blocks of the English language.

I Love Being Fierce and the Power of Ferocity

I Love Being Fierce and the Power of Ferocity

I once had a coaching assignment: come up with 100 adjectives for myself. Even as a Word Nerd, this was a stretch for me. Someone suggested that I ask others – it’s only cheating if I feel that it’s cheating.

Nope, not cheating.

With my list somewhere in the 70s, a friend looked at me and said, “eclectic.” I was done.

Fast forward several years. My brain had me awake at something like 2 in the morning and I was pondering a recent conversation with a photographer friend. We were talking about possible hair and makeup ideas for a shoot we’re planning. What I kept saying was that I wanted to show the extreme me. I don’t think either of us was clear on what I was trying to express.

My middle-of-the-night brain came up with a new word: fierce.

This word did not come up in my adjective homework, I wish it had. Overall, eclectic is a better description of me; however, fierce is up there. At this point, people who sort of know me might be confused. Unless you catch me on a bad day, I’m not overtly violent. Snarky or harsh, not violent. “Fierce” has a connotation of violence. In fact, “violent in force” is definition number two on (“Menacingly wild, savage, or hostel” is number one.)

On the other hand, go to the thesaurus part of the website and you’ll see “intense,” “powerful,” and “passionate” – all good, and less than lethal adjectives. (You’ll also see “tigerish,” which really appealed to me. Check out my About page if you need that explained.)

Side note: When looking for images of “fierce,” a cat was the first in the lineup and made up several entries.

I am fiercely loyal. And if you mess with me, I will blow up that bridge and walk away with a ferocity that will melt the asphalt.

I fiercely protect who I consider mine. It takes a lot to insult me. Yet, if I perceive a slight to my sister someone is in BIG trouble. (My sister says I’m too sensitive. Too bad.)

You can also observe my ferocity in my activities. I put my all into my workouts and my volunteer work. When there is violence involved with me being fierce, I take the brunt of it. As a sorter/get it done type for the Friends of the Pleasant Hill Library, I frequently end a shift with several more bumps, bruises, or scrapes.

And I’m fierce about clear communication – the only thing I’ve said I’m passionate about.

So, yes, I am fierce. And it is my ferocity that fuels me when my hair is on fire and I’m getting all that shit done for my people. It’s good to be one of my people.

(Yes, I say that swearing in your writing is a sign of a poor vocabulary. And if you can give me a better word with the meaning and punch, I will give you due credit.)

What are you fierce about?

– Lorrie Nicoles

How to Learn to Love Your Language: Insult with Style

How to Learn to Love Your Language: Insult with Style

*** DISCLAIMER: I am not advocating being nasty or hurting people’s feelings.Just being creative when you are and might. *** One of the best reasons to have an expansive vocabulary is so that you can insult people with style. Crassly insulting someone/thing in public is generally frowned upon. For example, “you’re f-ing ugly” is a… Continue Reading

Emphasis on the Wrong Syllable, English is Weird or am I Just Saying it Wrong?

Have you ever looked at a word, pronounced it in your head, and then not know what everyone else is talking about? You are probably suffering from Emphasis on the Wrong Syllable syndrome (pronounced Em-Fā-Siss on the Wrong Sa-Lab-El). My best personal example is Appomattox. I walked into US History class one day and that… Continue Reading

Word Rant: Percent

Word Rant: Percent

Language evolves. Words change meaning – sometimes to the opposite of the original definition. I get this, sometimes I encourage it, sometimes I don’t. However, there are some incorrectly used words that evolution will never fix. Today’s rant is around the use of the word “percent.” Simply put, percent means “of 100.” It is another… Continue Reading

Are They Stupid, or Just Ignorant?

Are They Stupid, or Just Ignorant?

Here’s a definition subtlety for you: What’s the difference between ignorance and stupidity? Here’s what has to say: ignorant: lacking in knowledge or training; unlearned:an ignorant man. lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact:ignorant of quantum physics. uninformed; unaware. due to or showing lack of knowledge or training:an ignorant statement.… Continue Reading

What is Journalism?

What is Journalism?

As you may have heard, I’m writing a book. One of the writers that agreed to contribute said that his specialty was journalism – the problem is that he didn’t answer my questions with information I would think of as being from a journalist. So, I thought maybe I wasn’t defining the word properly. So,… Continue Reading