A to Z Challenge

C is For Cathartic

I have a thing for words. I’ve always liked them. And whenever I run across a word I …

try and figure out what it means by the context.

(You thought I was going to say, “looked it up,” right? Uh. no. I’m way too lazy for that).

I run across “big” words in my reading all the time. I can usually ascertain what they mean by how they’re used and if not, I”ll break down and look it up, but generally speaking, I figure it out.

Just don’t ask me to pronounce them. (Kevin laughs at my pronunciation. Thank God for the pronunciation feature on Merriam Webster).

I don’t remember where I first saw the word “cathartic,” but I liked the word enough to start using it whenever I talked to people. I said it in passing a few weeks back when I was helping my sisters-in-law throw a party and my brother-in-law was all like, “What does that even mean?”

“It means therapeutic. You know, doing something makes you feel better – cathartic.”

I could tell by his face that he thought I was pulling one over on him. Which made me wonder if I had in fact, made up the word. If, in fact, I had somehow misread it, or God forbid, had mispronounced it.

When I got home, I went straight to Merriam Webster and prayed that the word actually existed and that I didn’t make a fool of myself. (Again).

Cathartic: of, relating to, or producing catharsis – a cathartic experience.

Since that’s not helpful, let’s look at the meaning behind "catharsis":

a : purification or purgation of the emotions (as pity and fear) primarily through art b : a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension

Thank God. It was not only a word, but it meant what I said it meant.

Face saved. It's such a relief (fine, a surprise), when I'm actually right about something. AND, I will have to make sure I know the meaning of words before using them in the future.

Just don't ask me to pronounce them.

Do you take the time to look up “big” words? Do you use “big” words very often when you talk to people?


I’m participating in the A to Z challenge. You can sign up for the challenge here. Just post something every day with the appropriate letter (except for Sundays), and then submit your link to one of the hosts and don’t forget to visit other participants! Also, you can find other A to Z participants on Twitter via the #atozchallenge hashtag. (Keep your posts short – not more than 500 words – to make it easy on visitors. I think there were about 1100 participants the last time I checked).