ASK DR. BOLI.

Dear Dr. Boli: There are several unpleasant names that have slowly been polluting our conversations which really irritate me. Some examples are coworker (instead of colleague), staycation (also known as free-time), advertainment (which seems to indicate that people like advertisements instead of avoiding them). There are many others. I’m hoping you will make them stop. Thank you! —Sincerely, Disgusted in Duquesne.

Dear Sir or Madam: You seem to credit Dr. Boli with a power that he does not possess. He has not even been able to force television reporters to give up that revolting nasal whine they all affect, and fashions in vocabulary are as far beyond his reach as fashions in neckties (which have been similarly deplorable for the past few decades).

What, then, shall we do? Perhaps a bit of what popular advice columnists call “reverse psychology” is in order. The next time you hear one of the ungainly hybrid words that irritate you so much, you must be absolutely stunned by its cleverness. “Did you say ‘staycation’? What’s that? —Oh, wait, don’t tell me: I’ve figured it out! It’s like ‘stay’ plus ‘vacation,’ isn’t it? How brilliantly à propos it is! You take a vacation from work, but you stay where you are! My goodness, what a vocabulary you must have.”

Dr. Boli does not warrant that this approach will stop the people with whom you were talking from using those words; but, if repeated often enough, it will stop them from talking to you, which solves the problem as far as you are concerned.