Tuesday, November 13, 2012

...In A Jiffy!

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Have you ever heard this phrase: I'll be finished in a jiffy?

(Jeepers Brad, I haven't heard that since the 1950's.)

OK, bear with me here... (Hmmmm... Another antiquated phrase: Bear with me.)

Do you know what a jiffy is? A jiffy is the unit of time it takes light to travel a centimeter in a vacuum: 0.0000000000033357 seconds, or (3.3357x10^-11) seconds, or (3.3357 times 10 to the power of minus 11) seconds. (I might be old, but I know how to look things up on the Internet!)

In other words, I'll be finished in a jiffy basically means I'll be done really, really fast.

I remember a conversation I had with two of my friends when I was in the 7th grade. My older sister had recently won a scholarly award, and seeking to brag to my friends about her I said, "Guess who won the Dean's Award?" "Who?" they inquired. My response: "Yours truly!" One of my friends remarked with skepticism, "Who, you?" "No, my sister," I replied.

They just looked at me real funny...

Apparently I had no idea what the term yours truly meant. But I used it anyway.

What's my point in this post? Simply this: When we use words and phrases, we ought to know what they mean. When we do we give validity to what we are saying. When we don't, we erode our credibility.

Nuff said! (Look that one up by clicking on it...)

Question: When have you used words or phrases that you really didn't know what they meant? Share your thoughts below in comments.

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