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Pretentious Words

September 21th, 2001 - 3:11 p.m.

I'm Currently Avoiding:

I need to update a lot today. Like 3 times or so before midnight occurs. Sooo...this entry is dedicated to the two words that are sitting in my e-mail box at the moment.

Daily Words You Might Not Know

bildungsroman (n. BIL-doongs-roh-mahn)

: a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character

Bildungsroman is the combination of two German words: Bildung, meaning education, and Roman, meaning novel. Fittingly, a bildungsroman is a novel that deals with the formative years of the main character -- in particular, his or her psychological development and moral education. The bildungsroman ends on a positive note with the hero's foolish mistakes and painful disappointments over and a life of usefulness ahead. Goethe's late 18th-century _Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjare_ (_Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship_) is often cited as the classic example of this type of novel. Though the term is primarily applied to novels, in recent years, some English speakers have begun to apply the term to films that deal with a youthful character's coming-of-age.

bumptious (adj. BUMP-shuss)

: presumptuously, obtusely, and often noisily self-assertive : obtrusive

Etymologists believe that bumptious was probably coined, perhaps playfully, from the noun bump plus -tious. When bumptious was first used around 1800, it meant self-conceited, or, as we might say, swollen-headed. Charles Dickens used it that way in _David Copperfield_: "His hair was very smooth and wavy; but I was informed . . . that it was a wig . . . and that he needn't be so 'bounceable' -- somebody else said 'bumptious' -- about it, because his own red hair was very plainly to be seen behind."

Huh? I thought roman was the *French* word for novel? Maybe it's the same word in both languages...I guess that could work. Bildungsroman is probably one of those pretentious words that no one really uses except to impress others of their intelligence. That wouldn't surprise me at all. Well...see you later, I'm sure. One down, 2 to go.

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