Working at the library's public computers (because the internet adapter on this machine is finicky) next to 2 high school girls supposedly (supposably) studying but mostly berating each other for, like, being distracting.
Suddenly the one on my right turns to me (without salutation) and says "Do you know what the word subtell means?"
I narrow my eyes, clueless, "Show it?" I said, because in the textspeak of the young, why use modifiers and other unneccessary baggage? She does: subtle. Oh.
I say, "Oh, subtle. The B is silent, so you say 'suttle.' It means... " every word I can think of is a Latinate that is likely beyond the girl in the moment learning "subtle." "It's like, played down, underhanded -- well, not underhanded, in a sneaky way... But if you say, 'that was subtle,' you mean it was---"
"On the DL," she says.
"Yes!" I say, actually poking her like some crazy kickball coach. It occurs to me she knows the word; she's never seen it.
I had that same problem with epitome when I was her age.