Strange word of the day: "blandishments"

I have a habit of trying out words. I’ve done this since I was a kid, using a word I don’t know the meaning of but that I think sounds like what I’m trying to say. Sometimes it is felicitous, becomes a creative and interesting new use of a word, but other times it has comical effects. I once told my dad, who was wearing a wife-beater and had a mustache—it was the 80s—that he looked like a “homo.” “What?” he said. “You know, one of those guys who lives on trains and wears rags?” “Ohhh, you mean ‘hobo’.” Right.

So I was trying to make “blandishment” mean something like shields, or the defense walls of a castle, or something. Doesn’t it sound like that?

Turns out, it is excessive flattery or attention used to ingratiate oneself with someone or to persuade someone to do something. Using blandishments with your parents to get out of doing housework, say. Or at work, complimenting someone on how they do a particular thing to get out of it yourself: “Oh, but you are so good at unjamming the copy machine!”

4 thoughts on “Strange word of the day: "blandishments"

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