“Defecate” Is a Tremendous Word · 20 November 2021

The word defecate is a tremendous word.

I like to think about words. I know. Not necessarily a strange thing for a writer. After all, writers should have good command of the language they write in. For instance, English is not Latin, so you can actually end sentences with prepositions and nobody cares. Except those who were taught by old time teachers who imposed their Latin rules on English writing.

At any rate, having a good vocabulary is part of having a good command of language you are using to communicate. For anybody. Not just writers. Which is why I think about words.

There are many things about the word defecate that I think are fascinating.

First of all, it is the verb used to say you are going to excrete the solid waste from your body. Yes, defecate is the technical term. And it might even be the polite term. (But you should probably not excuse yourself from the dinner table with the words, “Excuse me. I need to defecate.” Unless, of course, you are getting the third degree about why you are leaving.)

Another great thing about defecate is that it will probably not ever be used as a swear word. Too many letters. (Definitely not a four-letter word.) Too many syllables, too. Think about it. I do not know of any three-syllable swear words. Then again, I have a limited vocabulary of swear words. And if I use them, I would need to do pushups. (Which is a completely different story.) Still, it might be a way for those people who want to stop swearing to actually turn their swearing around. “Aw defecate,” has a silly ring to it. So maybe those trying to give up washing their potty mouths with soap should give it a try. Just a thought.

But there is an even better reason I think defecate is a tremendous word. It is the past past tense of eat. Think about it. Eat, ate, have eaten, defec-ate.

First you eat. That is the present tense. Then, when somebody offers you more food, you can say you already ate. Past tense. When you have had that one thin mint beyond what you should have eaten, you can say that you should not have eaten more food. The past participle. (Or something like that.) Then, when the food has been digested and your body is done with its process of processing said food, you defec-ate. The past past tense. Eat, ate, have eaten, defecate. It is perfect because it completes the verb eat and it completes the eating process. (By the way, do not tell your English teacher that defecate is the past past tense of eat. I might get in trouble.)

Well, I do not know that I have convinced anybody of the merits of the word defecate, but that is okay. I still think defecate is a tremendous word.

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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