During a phone call with my mom the other day, I used a word that I used to hear all the time in middle and high school but very rarely since. That word is “ignurnt.”
No, it’s not “ignorant,” tho etymologically – in a loose sense – that’s where it comes from. Technically, it’s just a Kentucky accented version of “ignorant,” but the meaning is different.
“We haveta to take off our jackets when we come into school? That’s ignurnt.”
“This homework assignment is ignurnt.”
Ignurnt almost means the opposite of ignorant. It is an epithet for work or other actions that are probably well thought-out and for everyone’s benefit but are perceived by the speaker as an exorbitant burden. At the same time, the word is synonymous with “stupid,” yet conveys so much more disdain – the target is construed as both idiotic and often from a different class or world entirely. Republican hatred of Obamacare or the faux outrage of “#gamergate” are well served by liberal usage of “ignurnt.”
The word ignorant is not usually applied to actions – instead it is thrown around when talking about people or ideas, usually. “Ignurnt” is more earthy and immediate. It isn’t abstract and is in fact concrete and immediate, a densely packed retort to something that touches a nerve out of nowhere. It is unguarded, off the cuff and brutal, yet full of complex power and expressiveness. I’m looking forward to building a character’s voice around the logic of the word and the types of folks who use it. Maybe it can be an English downhome counterpart to Sehnsucht