'Quomodocunquize' and 'play possum': Wordsmith Tharoor stuns netizens, again!

MP Shashi Tharoor. FILE PHOTO

Sunday saw Shashi Tharoor, a Member of Parliament who moonlights as a wordsmith, once again sending netizens scurrying to find their dictionary.

This time, it was the Indian Railways and the Prime Minister that took the hit through his 'unfamiliar/obscure expressions' series on Twitter.

Two tweets, two words -- 'quomodocunquize' and 'play possum' -- had the Twitterati and in all likeliness the persons it was intended to reach scratching their heads. Thankfully, Tharoor showed us mercy by spelling out the meanings of each word, without forcing us to switch tabs on Google simultaneously.

The first word, quomodocunquize, means 'to make money by any means possible'. Tharoor's tweet on Sunday read: "Obscure Words Deptt: Must the Indian Railways quomodocunquize?" He tagged the Ministry of Railways and used the hashtag 'SeniorCitizensConcession'. The tweet was an apparent dig at Railways Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw's decision against restoring the fare concession that was allowed for senior citizens while travelling by train. The fare cut was in force for years till the suspension of nationwide train services for two years owing to the pandemic.

The second tweet, which came later in the day, was more of a phrase. Playing possum means 'pretend to be asleep or unconscious' or 'feign ignorance'. It was just Tharoor's way of 'calling out' the Prime Minister for turning a blind eye to the heinous crimes being committed by the saffron party's supporters in the country.

Known for his penchant to criticise the BJP-led Central government using words that are impossible to finish without tripping, Tharoor's occasional throws at Twitter's lexicon has earned him followers transcending political ideologies. If nothing, trying to pronounce the words he tweets will help kill some time.

Here are Tharoor's contributions to our political vocabulary:

Quockerwodger - In politics, a quockerwodger is a politician acting on the instructions of an influential third party rather than properly representing their constituents.

Allodoxaphobia - An irrational fear of opinions. In yet another apparent swipe at the BJP government, this time in UP, Tharoor introduced us to a new phobia that should come in handy the next time you fight with your parents. If nothing, it should buy you some minutes before all hell breaks loose.

Floccinaucinihilipilification - The word that started it all. One would think a word this big and hard to utter would have the heaviest of meanings. But no, it simply means 'the action or habit of estimating something as worthless'. Does something worthless warrant so much effort?

Farrago - 'A confused mixture'. This usage too found massive popularity among netizens.

Troglodyte - 'A person regarded as being deliberately ignorant or old-fashioned'. A word that sounds like it came right out of a time-travelling movie. And in a sense, aren't we all troglodytes?

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