The Art of Slather

There is a word in the English language that is underused. It crops up from time to time to be used as a cheap comedy word then dropped like eggshells in the garbage disposal. I’m sure y’all reading now figured it out by the title – SLATHER.

Slather is one of the most powerful yet underused words in the English language. Many people that like to use powerful words usually resort to cursing, such as popular use of the word “fuck” and its various voices and moods. However, I feel that constant usage of power words waters down the actual phrase and in the process includes so much extra “noise” that the original sound is lost, like the current trend of pumping white noise in to modern rock songs to give a fuller feel. Slather can only be used in a finite set of locations in English sentences, so I feel that this automatic less usage by design will keep its meaning and impact strong.

“But sir,” the reader may say, “When fuck was first used it had a stronger meaning than now due to its rare use, and over time people created new and innovative ways of using the word. It’s a noun and verb for crying out loud!” True I say, but this took time over countless generations to occur, so what I propose for slather will be in full effect for our children’s children’s children.

Several examples where slather could be used are the following:

“Spread butter on my bread please” or the shortened form of “Butter my bread please” -> “Slather butter on my bread please”

Even though the second sentence contains more words, the meaning is not watered down or lost. It stirs emotions in the listener and is more context appropriate than saying, “Fuck butter on my bread please”. FYI, “Fucking butter my bread please” is not a good example because fuck is used as an adverb, whereas slather is currently understood as a verb, so the two cannot be held side by side.

Some more include:

“Slather my fries in ketchup”

“The dog slathered the little child”

“The vegetables slather the pork tenderloin”

“Slather me!” – wife on honeymoon

As one can see, the verb usage of slather is currently its most natural form.

Noun usage is beyond awkward; it’s plain bad grammar nowadays. Read on:

“The slather is ripe”

“Simon and the Slather work together.”

Because of the socially unacceptable usage of slather as a noun, proper usage as an adjective is important. Observe:

“The slathering cup overflows.”

“The slather barn is the best place to buy wine.”

“A slathering glass of iced tea is the perfect cure for a hot summer day.”

The above sentences are examples of poor usage of slather as an adjective.

“Give me that slathering printer!”

“Where’s that slathered stockboy? His pallets are broken!”

“It’s a slathering day outside!”

“That slathering teacher gave me an F. Slather her!”

“The slathering brown fox slathered over the slathering dog.”

*Note the last two sentences and their usage as both adjectives and verbs.

Current context proper usages of slather are evidenced above. They usually involve some form of extreme emotion rather than a tangible description. Once these sentences become commonplace, the above three poor examples may be used.

Alas, the recommended use of “slather” should not only be as a verb, but also in cautious use as an adjective. Once adjective usage becomes more socially accepted and less awkward on the ears, noun usage may be gingerly introduced.

Turning a page, it’s time to discuss the inevitable transition of this word into an obscenity. I believe this can occur if the word is used in situations where the listener or reader may become overcome with negative emotion to the point of causing emotional damage. Initially the casual person may believe it simply means to coat something generously with some thick or gel-like substance. However if the word is used often in negative connotations of extreme emotion rather than positive connotations, social backlash may occur. While the author does not want this to happen, it just may.

Initially only open-minded liberal people wanting to change society (hippies) will be slathering this new and unslathered trail. Since many consider themselves artists either through the brush or electron, there is a high probability that initial usage may be considered too extreme for the non-artist. For example, the homosapien body garb industry, AKA fashion designers, create art that common society considers extreme but as it approaches mass production is watered down. Another example is automotive styling. Like the trends created by these two, slather usage will be slathered down as it approaches the pipeline exit.

So in conclusion, bring on the slather! Let it spice and slather up your novels and news reports! May you feel in slathering moods when hitting the roller rinks! Let folk musicians without restraint sprinkle the word in their melancholy yarns! And let all users of the American English language feel enriched by its slathering presence.