I used to say that I came up with some of my finest ideas while driving on the interstate but I’ve recently started to reconsider that claim. I can’t remember the exact reason, but sometime this fall I found myself driving down the interstate fixated on the word precocious. I knew that someone could be precocious and I knew that they could display precociousness but I wondered what word might capture the state of displaying preciousness.
For instance, you can be tenacious and you can display tenaciousness, but if you describe the state of displaying tenaciousness you use the word tenacity. I realized that there was no such word for precocious, or, at least, there wasn’t one rattling around in my onboard dictionary, so I began trying to outline a word that would work.
If I followed the model of “tenacity” I’d have “precacity”, which sounded vaguely enough like 70’s teen heartthrob Shawn Cassidy that I wrote it off immediately. Besides, it doesn’t have that whole “ko-shess” thing happening in it which is part of the fun of the word precocious. Still, this word I was inventing seemed to want “city” at the end because that’s a top dollar state-of-being suffix in my book and I spare no expense when making up words.
“Precociouscity” is just terrible to look at and a bitch to sound out. Here’s a phonetic spelling, try saying it out loud: pre-ko-shuss-city. There, that worked… but it’s a slippery word and I kept transposing the letters all over the place. By the time I got home I had changed it into “Pres-ka-sha-city”, which I could remember so much easier.
“PRES-KA-SHA-CITY” is actually kind of catchy and has a nice bite to it as you say it. It even makes your nose wiggle when you say it which is exceedingly precocious if you asked me. It is even more precocious to use a made up word in public, which I am hereby encouraging you to try RIGHT NOW.