Friday, April 5, 2013

Wicked Words!

There are some really cool words in the English language! Some have a sound that describes the word itself, perfectly. 

Orb: One of my favourite sounding words is orb; such a short word, sounding much larger than the three letters imply. For me, it conjures up the image of something very round and complete. Spherical  just doesn't cut it; it is a larger, awkward sounding word. Three syllables make it sound spikey and irritating. With orb, I feel like it implies (a round, spherical object or globe); it rolls around on my tongue, continuing round the other side, in an never-ending roll. It is possibly one of my  most favourite of words. 

Untoward: Another uncommonly used word these days but I use untoward a lot. One of my favourite phrases is 'nothing untoward'. The definition of untoward is 'improper, unexpected, in appropriate, inconvenient, difficult to work with or control or unruly (another really great word!) However none of these really sound as cool as untoward. It sound so Victorian - like someone is telling me off for 'untoward behaviour'. I know I have done something inappropriate (which sounds a little cumbersome in comparison), or even downright unruly, but how can I get annoyed about it when it was described in such a proper and polite sounding way? There is absolutely nothing untoward sounding about the word, untoward.

Flabbergasted: This is such a descriptive sounding word, meaning to be overcome with astonishment, surprise or bewilderment, astounded or possibly even appalled.All of these  connotations (another great word, by the way) are embodied by this one word. Flabbergasted almost sounds like it is being spat out in exasperation. It creates an image of the 'flabbergastee' standing there indignantly waving around her arms, in astonishment. The very word, almost sounds like it is making fun of itself! 

Vivid: It does what its definition promises and evokes strong feelings or images in the mind. It is an 'in yer face' word - sharp, crisp and to the point. Vivid  is a word full of excitement and colour. In my mind, vivid  is definately red in colour, with a tinge of orange and yellow licking its edges! 

And finally balderdash! What a bomb of a word! It sounds like an expletive... but polite. I feel like I almost have to say it, while holding back the snicker that inevitably is associated with it (when I say anyway). My eyes just pop with the whole possibility of getting away with saying a word that sounds like one of 'those naughty words' that usually would end up with my mum washing my mouth out with soap. Originally, in the sixteenth century, it was apparently used to describe a frothy liquid associated with shaving. These days, it describes a senseless jumble of words. So really, it still means 'froth' and sounds like it too.

Language is evolving. With twitter and texting necessitating clipped words and sentences, changing our language to convey 140 characters per post, are we losing some of the beauty of the English language? Will we lose our ability to think and express ourselves in intricate and interesting ways or be restricted in our philosophies and thoughts, as in George Orwell's 1984

Is it not old fashioned to enthuse about such spiffing words as orb. There is nothing untoward about using the words untoward or vivid. I am flabbergasted that so many words are dropped from the English Dictionary, every time is revised. Some wonderful words are being lost. However, I will continue to have fun with the English language. 

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