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Picture of Kalleh
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I learned a great French word today: Couac - It means "a bad note from a defective or mishandled reed instrument, so named because it sounds like a duck's quack."

As far as I know, we don't have an equivalent word for it, though I know we could describe the concept in a sentence or two.
 
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Picture of arnie
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quote:
As far as I know, we don't have an equivalent word for it, though I know we could describe the concept in a sentence or two.

The word is "quack", which is pronounced exactly the same.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Well, except we don't use 'quack' in that context. We do have 'clinker'.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by bethree5:
Well, except we don't use 'quack' in that context.


Sure we do. For instance:

quote:
However "Practice makes Perfect" and you will soon get passed the notorious "Quack" that the early stages of oboe playing are reknowned for and find that you are making an almost unique sound.
 
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Well, I checked each entry in the Onelook dictionary, and nothing gives that definition.

It sounds similar to epicaricacy. You can't have it both ways.
 
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The OED has
quote:
1. The sound made by a duck; a noise resembling this.


quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
It sounds similar to epicaricacy. You can't have it both ways.


I'm not sure what you mean.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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This might help.
 
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Picture of BobHale
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The dictionary doesn't need to define every possible metaphorical use of every word.

If I described an orchestra like this, you would understand perfectly...

quote:
The concert was terrible. The mooing of the tubas, the squealing of the violins and the dull plodding of the timpany were only surpassed in awfulness by the quack of the oboe and the constant growling of an out of tune cello.


But I'll bet you a hundred dollars you can't find

moo: the noise made by a badly played tuba

in any dictionary anywhere. It's too specific. Same goes for all the others.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
This might help.


I have never said that epicaricacy is not a word.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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You are right, Bob. Definitions of words evolve. I should have realized that, though I am not sure if the documentation of one discussion board is enough to show that. However, that may indicate that it is used that way in the industry.

Goofy, there are those here, and other places (at the OED, for example) who don't think epicaricacy is a word. I wish I had access to the OED because i'd check to see if couac is included.
 
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couac is in the OED:

quote:
1876 J. Stainer & W. A. Barrett Dict. Musical Terms 111/2 Couac, an onomatopœic word for the sound made by bad blowing on the clarinet, oboe, or bassoon. The quacking sound, the goose note.


And so is quack: "1. The sound made by a duck; a noise resembling this."

quote:
1901 A. R. Conder Seal Silence 211 The voice of the footman rose high above the general quack of conversation.


Since it means "a noise resembling the quack of a duck", I don't see why it wouldn't be used to refer to the sound of a reed instrument. When I was in a concert band we talked about the oboe quacking. Here are some more quotes:

quote:
The oboe has a very intricate adjustment system, and it doesn't take much for it to get out of quack-- I mean whack.


quote:
And it was a year, at least, by the time the friend entertained us with an oboe sound, rather than a duck quack, and she could go practice at her own house.


quote:
What was the oboe before Pierre Severac? A duck's quack


quote:
In such moods my else so scrupulous musical ear is complaisant enough to allow even the quack of an oboe to cause me but a momentary twinge


quote:
Four flutes with the cornet drag the orchestra along with them; the shrill E-flat clarinet quacks


quote:
couac
Quack: the name of the sound made by ducks. In music, the sudden extremely unpleasant sound made by bassoon, clarinet or oboe when the reed is out of order, the keys deranged or the wind is beyond control of the player. In English this is called goose or goose-note. - from The American History and Encyclopedia of Music Dictionary

This message has been edited. Last edited by: goofy,
 
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Okay then. That foreign word the OED is okay with. I'd love to be in on some of their discussions on what should be included in the OED and what shouldn't. I could understand quack being cited that way, but I am surprised that couac is.

Thank you for the insight! Our library, apparently, has been cut off from the OED.
 
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