A New Vocabulary Word: Inimical

I somehow missed the word “inimical” in my SAT prep and in all of my years studying English literature. Maybe I knew it once and forgot. Maybe I never knew it. Either way, I have so much to learn!

I’m standing in line to order food, and the kind youngster takes my drink order. Whenever people speak, I listen to their language. I like to hear the verbs. I like to hear the rhythm of their sentences. We begin discussing how I love to combine something diet with something like Dr Pepper. He says, “I do that with sweet tea and unsweet tea so it’s not so inimical to my health.”

Inimical? Inimical?

He says, “Um, yeah, you know, like deleterious?” He doesn’t say it in a condescending way; he’s more instructing me. He’s clearly a lover of language, and I would like to be his new friend.

As he serves me my chicken sandwich, I look up the word on my phone and find it’s just as glorious as I imagine. It comes from the Latin word inimicus or enemy. Of course! It’s a beautiful new word that I somehow never learned. Instead of saying “harmful” or “destructive,” I can say “inimical” and enjoy the four syllable joy of it.

And suddenly, I consider how many more adjectives I can learn. Maybe I’m spending too much time with verbs and not enough with adjectives.

Then I consider how not to live in an inimical way–one causing harm and destruction, one obstructing or ruining.

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