Tony Leighton is a Canadian writer happily retired and attempting to help others feel the same.

Vocabuteria: micturition

[An ongoing feature designed to improve your vocabulary and mine. Think of these as palate cleansers between main courses. Or maybe scenic detours.]


Oh, boy. Another word that has existed for centuries (three to be exact), refers to something that we all experience every day, and before today I’d never heard or seen this word. WTF. It means to pee. The act of urination. From Latin micturitum, it is the past participle of micturire, "to desire to urinate.” provides the following wild explanation, as if the writer of explanations on that day decided to abandon all scholarly formality and throw in some riotousness for the hell of it because the word is so clinical and the act so visceral: "As during the final 20 minutes of a 4-hour film after drinking a 32-ounce Mountain Dew from the snack bar and the movie ends with a drawn-out farewell scene while Frodo is standing on the pier and wavelets lap audibly on the dock the whole time as if the director was a sadist set on compounding your torment.” Wow. Okay. Makes the point. And where did I come up with “micturition”? It arrived in an article from The Paris Review entitled, "Three Writing Rules to Disregard,” which, of course, I was drawn to like a thief to an instruction booklet on stealth while accessing a locked window. Under Rule #3 — Never End a Sentence with a Preposition — the author, Benjamin Dreyer, a man with an obvious sense of humour, writes:

Let me say this about this: Ending a sentence with a preposition (as, at, by, for, from, of, etc.) isn’t always such a hot idea, mostly because a sentence should, when it can, aim for a powerful finale and not simply dribble off like an old man’s unhappy micturition. A sentence that meanders its way to a prepositional finish is often, I find, weaker than it ought to or could be.

I’ve been seeking an acceptable way to bring laboured micturition into this retirement blog. And there it is, once and never again.


How are you wasting time?