~a snippet from the recesses of my memory~
My Word.A.Day today brought back some amusing memories.
My junior high math teacher was named Mrs. Gross. That was rather unfortunate for her because at that particular time, “Gross!” was one of the most-used words in the teenage vernacular. Naturally, she didn’t appreciate it a great deal. So when she introduced herself to our class, she carefully explained that she didn’t allow her name to be used as an adjective, so she wanted to give us an alternative word to use. She wrote it on the board, avoirdupois. Then she said the word slowly, “a-ver-du-pwah,” and had us all repeat it after her. She said that this word meant the same thing as gross, so at least in her class, we should use this as an alternative.
We all repeated it after her, though a bit skeptical, and then someone asked the question. “That really means Gross?”
“Absolutely,” she said, “it means a very heavy weight, which is what ‘gross’ means.”
I’m afraid that most of us never did really catch on to the use of avoirdupois as an exclamation of disgust, but she did make enough of an impression that we were all pretty careful to guard our mouths… at least in math class!