WOW Word-Of-the-Week #309: Juxtaposition

June 29, 2010 by  

Juxtaposition – putting side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.

Is this a word you are familiar with?  Have you ever used it in a conversation? I have to admit, it isn’t a word I have ever used.

My good friend and fellow speaker Sarita and I were chatting about my WOW’s and she commented that she liked this word. So when I invited her to submit some thoughts she had she responded by saying, “Yes, I love the word ‘juxtaposition.’  I think the word would give you a great opportunity to talk about your recent travels…traveling is when I most notice ‘contrast.’”

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Harbor

Example: “When I spoke in Hong Kong years ago, I remember that I was struck by the juxtaposition of the old-world Chinese boats and the modern high-rise buildings.”

So then I sent her an e-mail back saying give me some more juxtapositions. Sarita wrote back, “When I looked at my sister’s photos from a recent trip to India and Dubai, the juxtaposition of the poverty in India and the lavish living in Dubai was striking.”

“I’ve discovered that the real secret to being an effective speaker is the juxtaposition of lecture, stories and audience participation.”

“While playing tour guide to visiting relatives last weekend, I was reminded of what I’ve enjoyed about living in Oceanside for almost 20 years…the juxtaposition of suburb-dwelling families, beach-going tourists and ever-changing military personnel.”

So Sarita got me started thinking about “contrasts.” What came up for me was cruising on the Mekong Delta in Cambodia in relative luxury, relaxing on my teak lounge chair, sipping my cocktail, and watching the world go by. The juxtaposition being that the world I was watching was the locals bringing their cows and children down to the river to take their baths.  And then I realized there were a lot of juxtapositions on that trip!

This week think about contrasts. Do you have an example from your travels? Have you experienced driving through a city and the juxtaposition of bordering neighborhoods?