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Is "squirrelly" an appropriate word to use in an academic paper?

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Is "squirrelly" an appropriate word to use in an academic paper?

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Old 05-07-09, 11:37 AM
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Is "squirrelly" an appropriate word to use in an academic paper?

I wrote my term paper and used the word "squirrelly" in my conclusion. Is this appropriate? I really like the word, and it's in the dictionary, but for the past few days I've been having my doubts that it is an acceptable word in academia. The guy who is reading it is a foreigner with English as a second language, and much more of a statistician than reader/writer.
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Old 05-07-09, 11:42 AM
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I think it could be fine. What was the context?
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Old 05-07-09, 11:43 AM
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No, "squirrelly" is not an appropriate word. It's slang.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/squirrelly
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Old 05-07-09, 11:44 AM
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I don't remember the exact sentence, but it was in reference to an economist named Francis Edgeworth. Basically I acknowledged that he was squirrelly, but that this contributed to his lack of fame.
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Old 05-07-09, 11:44 AM
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If you were writing in the persona of Mark Twain, possibly, in most other situations, I would say erractic, eccentric, unconventional would be better word choices. Really need to see the word used in your specific context to be able comment correctly though.
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Originally Posted by colorider View Post
Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 05-07-09, 11:48 AM
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yes. I think calling someone squirrely isn't appropriate. It might be best reserved for an abstract situation or phenomenon (ie "nervous investors felt like running up a tree due to the squirrelly economy")...that's my two cents.
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Old 05-07-09, 11:50 AM
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It's a perfectly cromulent word.
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Old 05-07-09, 11:52 AM
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I find it to be more embiggened than cromulent.
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Originally Posted by colorider View Post
Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 05-07-09, 11:53 AM
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Battle of dictionaries

Depending on the tone/subject of the paper, I think it might be fine, though the conclusion section might be an odd place to use it.
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Old 05-07-09, 11:53 AM
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I wouldn't use it in an academic paper.
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Old 05-07-09, 11:53 AM
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Yeah, Francis Edgeworth was a squirrely barstage, what with his hinky theories and all.
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Old 05-07-09, 11:55 AM
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Fargin A right he was Word. And you are no slouch at squirrelliness yourself, so this is indeed high praise of Edgeworth.
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Originally Posted by colorider View Post
Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 05-07-09, 11:59 AM
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Why not? It might not be the best or most fitting adjective to use, but that doesn't mean it's out of bounds.

Word snobs.
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Old 05-07-09, 12:00 PM
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If one of my students used it appropriately in an essay, I would have no problem with it at all. In fact, I would find it scrumtulecent.

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Old 05-07-09, 12:02 PM
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scrumtulecent is a word that I find to be most splunge.
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Originally Posted by colorider View Post
Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 05-07-09, 12:13 PM
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What kind of furriner?
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Old 05-07-09, 12:14 PM
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It would be fine in the paper: A Comparative Special Analysis of the Epicurean Qualities of Heterogeneous Admixtures from the Family Rodentia

Otherwise, I'd vote no.
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Old 05-07-09, 12:14 PM
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What's wrong with that word?
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Old 05-07-09, 12:16 PM
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Squirrelly can be constructed as comparing someone to a squirrel..hence, it may have a negative connotation and is thus a weasel-word
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Old 05-07-09, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by jgedwa View Post
If one of my students used it appropriately in an essay, I would have no problem with it at all. In fact, I would find it scrumtulecent.
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Old 05-07-09, 12:33 PM
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You should avoid slang in formal documents. As you mentioned, readers who have English as a second language might not understand the reference. It also makes you look like a knob who doesn't take his/her work seriously enough to find a suitable synonym.
 
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Old 05-07-09, 01:25 PM
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Old 05-07-09, 01:47 PM
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I didn't think it was slang though, seeing as it was in the dictionary (as a reader just posted). I really do think Mr. Edgeworth was squirrelly AND have quotes from John Maynard Keynes and Alfred Marshall to prove it!
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Old 05-07-09, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
I didn't think it was slang though, seeing as it was in the dictionary (as a reader just posted). I really do think Mr. Edgeworth was squirrelly AND have quotes from John Maynard Keynes and Alfred Marshall to prove it!
If you look at the definition, does it say 'slang' in there? It did in the dictionary.com link I posted.
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Old 05-07-09, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
I didn't think it was slang though, seeing as it was in the dictionary (as a reader just posted). I really do think Mr. Edgeworth was squirrelly AND have quotes from John Maynard Keynes and Alfred Marshall to prove it!
that would go a long way towards substantiating the scrumtrelescence of your word choice.
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