I like verbs. They’re so versatile, really. Heck, when it comes to conveying an action you can hardly go wrong using a verb. And I have to admit that there are in fact actually a lot of verbs out there. In fact there are even some verbs out there I suspect that can not possibly be construed with a sexual connotation. The sad fact is however, that many perfectly solid, respectable verbs can oh so easily find themselves standing in for a four letter word that begins with F and couldn’t used to be said on television. For example, to me it was obvious that Poke is a euphemism for phuque, though I was quite surprised to learn that many of my friends did not regard that verb in that vein at all. Nail is another verb that seems to me an obvious candidate for bedroom duty. While it may lead a very useful day time life holding things together (in its noun form) and be a task that any carpenter worth his saw dust excels at, I kind of doubt that many men would fail to grasp the idea of “nail her to the bed”. (Although I suppose a fetishist who enjoys driving steel spikes into flesh might have a very different mental image of this than most.)
My own recent overuse of the verb nail was neither sexual nor sadistic. But I must admit I was embarrassed when I noticed that two days in a row I posted that a friend had “nailed topic a” and then “really nailed topic b”. In the context in which I used it, “nail” suggests that the author was particularly effective in identifying and explaining the most pertinent issues in the topics she addressed. In that sense it was not really a poor word choice. But it kind of kills me to have shown such redundancy. I’ve been so lucky as to have a circle of friends, many of whom seem to genuinely like my great appreciation for words, and none of whom seem terribly put off by my vocabulary. But it’s hard to claim eloquence when the evidence shows you apparently couldn’t think of a single synonym.