You know those times when you should be happy for someone, but their success really just makes you feel bad about yourself? For example, you should be happy for your friend when she gets a promotion, but the truth is that it just makes you mad that you didn't get one. Or you should be happy for your best friend when she tells you that her new boyfriend is whisking her off to Paris, but instead it just makes you glare at your husband.
"What's wrong, Honey?"
Well, today, I was grading and the first sentence I read was:
The store displayed their obsequious range of holiday decorations.
An English teacher should be thrilled when her student uses such a beautiful and sophisticated word, right?
Well, not when the student out-vocabularies the teacher. I had never even seen the word obsequious before, and, what can I say, it made me feel a little inadequate.
So, you know how it shouldn’t make you happy when your friend complains that she's exhausted and has no social life because the new promotion requires her to stay at the office until 10pm every night. And it definitely should not make you happy when your best friend tells you that she spent her Paris vacation in bed due to a bad batch of escargot.
Well, what can I say; I was kind of relieved when I looked up obsequious only to discover that my student had misused it.
When I looked it up, this is what I found:
characterized by or showing servile complaisance or deference; fawning: an obsequious bow.
servilely compliant or deferential: obsequious servants.
Surely, she didn't mean to convey that the range of holiday decorations was obedient or servile.
I hope you don't think I am being opprobrious when I say that my student was simply not exhibiting perspicacious judgement in her quest to be a sesquipedalian.