I play a game with my dad in which we use "big" words in sentences and try to "out do" one another. We have had some pretty funny conversations. One of the things that I enjoy most about these conversations is the impression they leave with me afterwards and the fun I have with these same words long after the conversation is over. For instance, the word "akimbo" makes me smile to myself every time I hear it because my dad and I had such fun and laughed so hard when we were talking and he used the word.
I feel fairly confident in my knowledge and use of vocabulary. Having said that, I was in training today and used the word "ethereal" in a group conversation. I felt as though every single person was looking at me as though I was from another planet. It was the strangest feeling. The conversation stopped dead and I thought perhaps I had said something offensive or in another language or completely out of context. It bothered me so much I was unsure of whether or not I had pronounced the word incorrectly, or maybe used a word that doesn't even exist. The group session concluded, the meeting concluded and I came back to my office and immediately looked up the word. It exists! I pronounced it correctly!
Wow but that can mess a person up! I hate it when that happens, and I am still confused at why it stopped the whole conversation dead in it's tracks.