“Audition,” by Said Sayrafiezadeh. The New Yorker, 9/10/18.
(Vocabulary postings are words or phrases I recently came across in reading, did not fully understand, looked up, and discovered something new.)
As I read, I keep my computer tablet at my side and quickly look up words that I do not know, or words I have only assumed their meaning from their context. Often, I am surprised. This piece of fiction had several; others I found elsewhere.
Euphemism: A less-offensive word or phrase used in place of an offensive one. Baby potty words are mostly euphemisms, such as “wee-wee” and “poo-poo.” A racial example is “women of color” (good!) instead of “colored women” (bad!).
Tautological: A phrase that sounds logical, but simply repeats the initial premise in similar words, or even the same words. The example I hear over and over is, “It is what it is.” Can’t argue with that.
Solipsistic: This has a complex meaning that I have long struggled with, but often only means very self-centered.
Trope: An overused figure of speech, a cliché; an overused theme or devise. Can be applied to characters in a play or car designs.
Vapid: Flat, dull, lacking interest.
Tatty: Worn, shabby.
Cyborg: a live fictional creature, human or otherwise, whose abilities have been extended with mechanical implants.
Nexus: Center, focal point. Example: The library became the nexus for new ideas. It can also mean a connection, as in, “the nexus between poverty and crime.”
If you have any insights, please send them. I am certainly no expert in vocabulary, as my high school English teachers would confirm, or would even laugh at the very idea. I am just struggling to keep up.