Gullet

Gullet is an etymological senior citizen, its biography cut-and-pasted from edition to edition by generations of editors because its utile efficiency has not required update. Gullet sits on the veranda of a dog-eared paperback dictionary and sneers as unfriend and chillax tote their fashionable baggage up the onion-skin steps of the O.E.D. next door, and will stubbornly outlive both.

Gullet is neither sleek nor svelte, but language isn’t always pretty. Words like ingénue and ethereal are lovingly adored by their linguistic paramours, yet both are ill-suited for the work that gullet has to do. Frankly, gullet’s whole family is a homely bunch — throat hops from the mouth like a lumpy toad, and if esophagus were a menu item, it would certainly go unordered — but they’re blue-collar nouns and they don’t care if the poets pass them by. There’s work to be done, gullet says, so shut your pie hole and get to it. (Wait — open your pie hole.)

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