New Word #1: Cacoethes

I’ve always wanted to talk about vocabulary, if only to help others just like myself. Being a non-native speaker, English vocabulary has always been a challenge. There are so many of them and a lot don’t even sound like English. Avoiding is not possible; facing it is frustrating. How to deal with the feeling of vocabulary doom? One new word a day is one of my solutions, in which I am going to explain, illustrate or curse a new word until the newness of the word disappears and the boredom of familiarity arises.

I learned this word “cacoethes” from Vivi’s poem entitled “Cacophony”. It means “an irresistible urge to do something inadvisable.” I know this urge. I did once have this urge to smash my Kindle Fire tablet when it stopped responding. I didn’t have the time to fish out the hammer from the toolbox. Instead I threw it to the wall, making one small dent and a slightly bigger dent.

My friend G threw her dinner at her mother-in-law who talked to G’s husband almost the entire time and ignored G’s presence. G is very contrite afterwards, both about losing her temper and the wastefulness of throwing away food. Her mother-in-law is a good cook and G loves her food. G has been living with the dilemma of loving her food and hating her personality forever. Cacoethes is the result.

Do you have an instance of cacoethes? Let me know and leave me a comment.

13 thoughts on “New Word #1: Cacoethes

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