Saturday, February 16, 2013


Welcome, students to today’s edition of Vocabulary Enhancement Training. As you know, in this class we take quotations from famous people, pick out phrases, and try to come up with other, perhaps more creative ways to communicate the same meaning…sort of advanced synonymetry…if you will.

So, today’s quote comes from Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who, when told that if the sequestration went through, Congressmen and women would also get a pay cut, responded that a paycut would be “beneath the dignity of a congressman’s job”. Now, I want us to concentrate on the phrase, “dignity of a Congressman”.

What are some other ways that we can say the same thing more creatively, without changing the original meaning? Anyone?

 “How about instead of “dignity of a congressman”, we use…chastity of a prostitute?”


“I’ve got one! “scruples of a banker”.


“self-control of a toddler?”


“soft hands of a brick layer?”

Beautiful! Class, I must say I’m overwhelmed with your responses today.

“Basketball skills of a white midget?”

That’s very creative, but let’s try to keep race out of our language. Oh, and the term “midget” might be seen as pejorative towards the vertically challenged. Bill? You’ve been awfully quiet today. Do you have any ideas on our topic?

Bill: “dignity of a congressman”? That’s a tough one. How about the efficiency of the DMV, or the Friendliness of the IRS, or maybe the fidelity of Bill Clinton?

All of those are excellent! Class, you have outdone yourselves today. Ok, next week our phrase will be “audacity of hope”.