Wacky words are words that thrive in our vocabulary but don't exist in the dictionary. Or if they do, we use them incorrectly.
No matter how many books we've read, how many classes we've attended or how many stories we've written, we all have a wacky word. They live independent lives, undetected by us. Rarely do people discover them on their own. We only find out about our wacky word when someone else notices it — and is willing to tell us.
My wacky word was foilage. I had no idea it ran rampant in my vocabulary until a guy I was dating pointed it out to me. I was lucky because I found out from a friend instead of from an editor or a client. And he was gentle about correcting me. He joked, "You've got foil on your mind from working all those years for the Aluminum Company of America."
That conversation is etched in my mind — and I've pronounced and written foliage correctly ever since. If he hadn't told me, foilage would probably still be in my vocabulary. (Truth is, I still prefer the sound of foilage.) I wonder how many other wacky words I have? I'll have to get bold and ask.
What's YOUR wacky word?