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Picture of Kalleh
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I made an innocent enough comment in a meeting today, and got laughed at...uproariously. All I said was, "We had a scintillating discussion in that meeting." Is there another meaning for "scintillating" that I am unaware of? I mean, it isn't like saying, as I did once to a class of students, "The weiner part of the hot dog...." Now, as you can imagine, that also brought uproarious laughter, which I absolutely deserved. Roll Eyes I just hadn't heard "weiner" used that way, though I should have figured it out, I guess.
 
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I think scintillate is often confused with titillate, for whatever reason, a word which would elicit laughter.
 
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They may also have felt the word was a little over the top to describe a (presumably mundane) meeting.

Husband to wife:
    "Is that a new hairdo? It's splendiferous."


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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I confess that whenever I use the word scintillating I'm being ironic - possibly even sarcastic.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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Bob, sarcastic? How is that? I always have used "scintillating" to mean animated and brilliant, just as dictionary.com defines it.

Sean, Shu had a similar thought, though he wondered if maybe they had linked it to "sin."

I suspect, though, that arnie may be right. While, indeed it was a scintillating discussion, it was associated with a meeting. On the other hand, none of the people who laughed at my use of the word had been at that particular meeting.

Oh, well. I don't mind being laughed at. As Shu says, maybe it can be my signature word at future meetings. Hey...at least I didn't use epicaricacy (though I have thought about it!) Wink
 
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It's just that if I say "well that was scintillating" what I mean is that it was deadly dull and tedious.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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quote:
none of the people who laughed at my use of the word had been at that particular meeting.
They probably assumed you were being ironic or sarcastic, as Bob suggests. After all, scintillating is not a word commonly associated with business meetings. Wink


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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My point was that until the end of the meeting, where we had monotonous updates from everyone in the room, it had been an exciting, animated discussion...best described by the word "scintillating." I could have used "interesting," I suppose, but that word is way overused. It could have been described as an "excellent" or "rich" discussion, too, but again...hackneyed. "Scintillating" was perfect.

If we always use the same old words, without using some of the more descriptive or fun words, I think our communication suffers. How many times have I heard, "What an interesting discussion"? Too many!

On the other hand, if "scintillating" really does have an ironic or sarcastic tone to it, then I have to listen. I hadn't heard of that before, at least here in the U.S.
 
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I was at a meeting this morning which was deadly dull all the way through. After a woman spoke for an hour and a half (instead of the 45 minutes allocated in the agenda) on a subject that was only of interest to around a third of the people in the room (and of those, most were only marginally affected) the boss thanked her for "an interesting, enlightening, and humorous presentation".

How he kept a straight face is beyond me. She was boring, boring, boring!


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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There are essentially three kinds of public speakers.

1. Those who hope they will never, ever, have to speak in public and don't therefore bother to get trained to do it.

2. Those who have had to speak in public and, after a few attempts, lose their fear of the task and deliver away, often becoming quite blasé. Because they feel comfortable with what they do, they don't bother to get trained.

3. Those who realise that public speaking is a skill, which, like any other skill can be learnt They take the trouble to get trained.

The first group worry their audiences; the second group bore and/or irritate their audiences; the last group inspire and entertain their audiences.

Of course, as a public speaking trainer, I confess that I have a slight personal axe to grind...


Richard English
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
There are essentially three kinds of public speakers.
Of course, as a public speaking trainer, I confess that I have a slight personal axe to grind...

Having done a lot of public speaking, I think there are a few rules that can be usefully imparted, but I am not sure that we all need a trainer or formal course. The essential requirement is to have a genuine sensitivity for the needs of the audience. Granted that, many can quickly learn the many tricks and techniques. I often watched with care and learned from accomplished speakers in realms other than my own.
 
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but I am not sure that we all need a trainer or formal course.

There is no skill that cannot be improved by training. The better the practitioner the more he or she will continue to train at his or her chosen calling.

What will the top footballers be doing right now, given that they are not playing in a football match? You've guessed it!

One of the biggest problems with public speaking is that most audiences expect to be bored or frustrated by "experts" who don't know how to present properly - and they would never dream of criticising a speaker's performance, no matter how poor it is. To start with, most of them wouldn't know how to give proper analytical criticism in any case.

Believe you me, the very best and most highly paid speakers arrange to get feedback on their performances frequently; that is why they remain the best and most highly paid speakers (just like footballers, in fact).


Richard English
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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I do a lot of public speaking - usually in the town square, and draw a good crowd until the police call the men in white coats and they take me back to hospital.

I do agree with Richard, Kalleh, they probably found your comment ironic despite your intention. Either that or they figured you needed to join me in my padded cell. Big Grin
 
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I do a lot of public speaking - usually in the town square

Of course, if you come to London you can go to Speakers' Corner and speak as much as you want, about what you want, for as long as you want. Just remember that heckling is expected and you must give as good as you get.

If you look at my website www.retraining-uk.com you'll be able to see a clip of me speaking on a favourite topic of mine, while having to compete with a man on the "Jews for Jesus" platform.


Richard English
 
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Asa, I believe it was Arnie, not Richard, who thinks my colleagues thought my comment ironic. I suppose that's right.

I surely can understand, as both Bob and Arnie said (why does that remind me of Bert and Ernie Wink?), that the word can be considered sarcastic or ironic. However, one can use "scintillating" to mean what it means, too; the word itself isn't ironic. When you want to use it that way (and I agree you can), it is by the tone you use. For example, had I said, "Now that was a scintillating conversation!" yes, I'd agree. But I didn't. My point had been that it had been an animated, brilliant discussion (i.e., "scintillating") until the end, where we asked everyone to give an update. I was advocating for our stopping those boring updates.
 
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Kalleh:
the word can be considered sarcastic or ironic. However, one can use "scintillating" to mean what it means, too; the word itself isn't ironic. When you want to use it that way (and I agree you can), it is by the tone you use.

There is nothing inherently ironic or sarcastic in the word scintillate. It comes from Latin scintillare, from scintilla, a spark. It is applied figuratively to conversation or humour. But if you wish to use it with implied irony, that's fine and will be apparent in your tone of speech or in context. QED.
 
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Picture of BobHale
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quote:
Originally posted by pearce:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Kalleh:
the word can be considered sarcastic or ironic. However, one can use "scintillating" to mean what it means, too; the word itself isn't ironic. When you want to use it that way (and I agree you can), it is by the tone you use.

There is nothing inherently ironic or sarcastic in the word scintillate. It comes from Latin scintillare, from scintilla, a spark. It is applied figuratively to conversation or humour. But if you wish to use it with implied irony, that's fine and will be apparent in your tone of speech or in context. QED.


I'd agree. In fact I'd go further and say there is nothing ironic or sarcastic in any single word. It's all in the tone and context. With that said I cant think of any occasion when I have heard "scintillating" used witout at least some trace of irony but many many occasions when I've heard it used with irony. It simply isn't a word that most people use straight-faced.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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Okay, then we agree. However, I don't think I had used the word "scintillating" with an ironic or sarcastic tone because I truly thought the conversation had been scintillating.

I suspect the reason people chuckled is because that word isn't used very much, at least in my workplace. Still...I like it!
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
Okay, then we agree. However, I don't think I had used the word "scintillating" with an ironic or sarcastic tone because I truly thought the conversation had been scintillating.


I am sure you used it correctly without irony. I often use it in praise of a talk or speech I have heard.
[ with tongue in buccinator] If the word isn't used in your workplace, you should choose a more erudite set of nurses instead of a giggling bunch of linguistically compromised nursules.

EDITED by arnie to correct the quote code; the [QUOTE] at the beginning annoyed me!

This message has been edited. Last edited by: arnie,
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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The fact is, of the 10 or so at the meeting, I believe only 4 of us were nurses. However, I do get your point. That has happened to me more than once in that office!

[I am curious as to the problem with the quote code Wink]
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:

[I am curious as to the problem with the quote code Wink]


Me too! But as long as censorship extends no further, we shouldn't complain too much.
 
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See pearce's post of 6 April for an unedited example. Smile


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Gottcha, Arnie!

I just posted in the Foreign Words forum about Alaka Basu's article where he described his love of words. He mentioned that he gained his love of English from a Welsh nun who was his teacher in a small town in India. She taught him to "listen to the language, to breathe in the sounds and meanings of the words it was made of." Then he mentioned some words that he considers simple and beautiful, such as clandestine, rendering, implore. Others have a "perfect meaning," such as meander, wilt, and epiphany. Further, he wrote that he is so enamored with words that he finds it difficult to chastise an erring student who "peppers her apology" with words like contrite, remorseful, and wretched.

My point is...that's why I used scintillating, I think; I not only love the sound of that word, but I also like its precise meaning. It's so much more descriptive than "excellent" or "rich."

I really do have to meet this Dr. Basu! Wink [However, rendering??]
 
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>listen to the language

rather reminds me of the Python's woody and tinny word sketch link
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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That reminds me of my pen pal, Paul, from Gloucestershire who runs about saying, "spackle, spackle, spackle, spackle..." He thinks it's a very woody thing to say. I think he's as crackers as a caribou. Roll Eyes
 
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