tendentious: This is a word that means “biased,” but it’s longer. In the matter of long words, this column is tendentious. Why use a little word when a big, obscure, pompous word will do?
martinet: a person who rigidly adheres to rules. Overall in life, it’s not great to be a martinet. Rules are meant to be broken, so think outside the box, man! However, there are two situations when rules should most definitely be followed, and those are, of course, when safety is involved and in the case of grammar and punctuation.
jaggery: an unrefined sugar product that is eaten, according to Wikipedia, “in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean,” which is a not unsubstantial segment of the world, so it’s time to get on board. It’s made from palm tree sap or sugarcane, which explains its popularity in the warmer places. Jaggery looks quite a bit like crystalized ginger and is regarded as more healthy than our common old white sugar, but then again, it’s 100% sugar, so “healthy” is probably relative.
laxoox (pronounced “la hooh”): a flat bread product somewhere between a pancake and a crepe that’s eaten in Somalia, Yemen, and Djibouti. I think we should all make one, because not only does it sound delicious and have a great spelling, but familiarity with it might help us better remember Djibouti’s existence. Poor Djibouti.
punt: A punt is a disappointing football play that you’ll be seeing a lot of starting next week, but did you know that it’s also the indentation at the bottom of a glass bottle? Make sure you buy your beer in bottles instead of cans, and you’ve got a riveting piece of trivia to discuss with your buddies while you watch the game. You could also use the beer in a drinking game in which you take a sip every time a football announcer uses the word “literally” inappropriately.