Thursday, September 08, 2005

Try this on for size

Michael Jack got me thinking. Is "underachieving" synonymous to "mediocrity"? Sorry, MJ. Sounds like a personal problem to me - one that I whole-heartedly would say to, "Good luck with that. And I'll see you at the end of the line; I'll be the stylish looking brunette right behind you."

Then I wondered, what would be a good synonym for "mediocrity" anyway? Try these on for size.

Mediocre: characterless, colorless, common, commonplace, conventional, decent, dull, fair, fairish, humdrum, indifferent, inferior, insignificant, intermediate, mainstream, mean, medium, middling, moderate, ordinary, passable, pedestrian, run-of-the-mill, second-rate, so-so, standard, starch, tolerable, undistinguished, unexceptional, uninspired, vanilla

No wonder "Vanilla Ice" didn't go far - it was the name that did him in. Might as well be "Mediocre Ice."

I also liked this little side note synonym entry from

Cheap: bad, base, blah, bogus, catchpenny, cheesy, common, commonplace, crap, crappy, crud, cruddy, dud, flashy, garbage, garish, glitzy, junky, lemon, lousy, mangy, mean, mediocre, meretricious, no bargain, no good, ordinary, paltry, poor, ratty, raunchy, rinky-dink, rotten, rubbishy, second-rate, shoddy, sleazy, small time, tatty, tawdry, terrible, trashy, trumpery, two bit, valueless, white elephant, worthless

Sleazy, tatty (don’t know what that means exactly, but I like the look and sound of it), those words definitely have some possibility here. Oh, and I see my favorite adjective "crappy" right there too. I'm really starting to dig this mediocre thing!


Selene said...

I think "underachievement" could be used as a synonym for mediocrity in certain circumstances.

Underachievement isn't really underachievement if one is of mediocre intelligence. Some people simply don't accomplish much in life but they may still be an overachiever if they are really stupid.

If you have an IQ of say 27 and you tie your shoes - that is really something. But if your IQ is 140 and all you do is stay home and watch TV all day you might be underachieving.

Another thing that ought to be pointed out is that mediocre is an adjective that describes something. "He exhibited a mediocre performance." Which implies that he could have exhibited a better performance or that others could have done better.

Mediocrity is not about the measure of an individual performance but rather the performance as it relates to the performances of others. Underachievement may be linked more to ones individual performance as it relates to one’s own potential rather than an outward standard.

bluesugarpoet said...

Ah, yes. There is something to be said about "Situational Mediocrity." I can't think of what that might be, but I'm sure there is something to be said.

Mimi said...

I think tatty must come from the word tattered.

Gracie said...

I would like to add that your list of synonyms for mediocre is definitely not mediocre.

pjd said...

This is about as appropriate a comment I could ever make on this blog. It has "titty" and "tatty" in the title, and there is quite a bit that is mediocre about it.

Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse

bluesugarpoet said...

I would expect nothing less from you, PJD. How did you ever find a story that rolled up “titty,” total destruction, and death into one neat little package? Truly amazing. Also, it’s nice how you worked “titty” into this post. EM readers are all for the “titty.” Fine work…although can I say that you are setting quite a standard here? Could you dumb it down a little?

Oh, and “tatty” comes up as an option for “titty” in spell check. Brilliant.

pjd said...

Actually, it's in a book of fairy tales we read to our kids sometimes. Some of them are a bit gruesome, but the standards are there--little red hen, chicken little ("chicken licken"), and billy goats gruff.