In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Dictionary, Shmictionary.”
(Dictionary.com definition of logophobia)
Growing up I would often use words I didn’t know the meaning to. Well, I knew what they meant (most of the time) but if anyone asked me to define the word I wouldn’t know how. The way this happened is I often developed my understanding of words from the context in which they were used.
I was often quite afraid that someone would ask me to do just that when using a word that was beyond what most kids my age (say, 9 or 10) would usually know. I was afraid that I’d be accused of trying to sound smarter than I really was which was something I never really did and it always bothered me when other people did just that. One of the kinds of people that really bothered me when I was a kid was the “know-it-all” type. I was never one of those and never tried to be one. The fear of being thought of either one of those or being thought of as stupid because I couldn’t define a word I used was a very strong fear and haunted me for years. How often did this actually happen? I can’t for sure but I doubt it was more than once or twice in my life.
By the time I reached my teen years the fear went away, partially because people don’t tend to question the word usage of teens as much as they do children but mostly because I had much bigger problems to worry about (like being diagnosed bipolar).