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Picture of zmježd
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The latest entry (link) in the un-X-able words category: an article in The New Yorker about unusable words. The first word he discusses is fathomless and its near synonym depthless.
quote:
Suppose in a novel you encounter the phrase “Rick stared into Sheila’s beautiful, depthless eyes.” Rick has clearly met a babe—and she is either superficial or profound. No telling which, outside of context. In its flexibility, its complaisant wish to go both ways, the word loses its independence and leaches away most of its efficacy.
And for what it's worth, the forum software recognizes fathomless but not depthless.

NOTE edited by arnie to mend broken link.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: arnie,


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
Posts: 5085 | Location: R'lyehReply With QuoteReport This Post
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That's a lovely article and a lovely conceit.

That last word, by the way, is probably also an unusable word. Smile


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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I don't see how pulchritude and puissance fit into the discussion. Or am I too depthless to understand?


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
Posts: 4431 | Location: In a cornfield in central IndianaReply With QuoteReport This Post
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The author feels that pulchritude is an ugly word and doesn't convey the essence of its meaning because of that. YMMV - personally, I don't have any issues with it.

Similarly, puissance is felt to sound rather too much like "pussy" to convey true virile manly power. Although he doesn't mention it, the word also sounds uncomfortably close to "pissant".


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.
 
Posts: 10927 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
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OK, so the author doesn't know Latin or French. That's HIS problem that he can't see the pulchritude or puissance of these words.


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
Posts: 4431 | Location: In a cornfield in central IndianaReply With QuoteReport This Post
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The other day, during one of the baseball games, the announcers made a comment about a player who had been involved in drug use and received a suspension. They said he had gained a certain notoriety for his actions, which were not in the best interests of the game. But later, they were praising a rookie who was performing at a high level, better than had been expected, and said he was achieving a "welcomed notoriety," yet his actions weren't bad.

Strange that this word can be used to illustrate opposite definitions. According to the dics, it describes reputation, often unfavorably. but you must know the cntext to determine which usage is being manifested in any case.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Very interesting article, z. I've always loved auto-antonyms. We've talked about them here, and arnie refers us to other places where they've been discussed.

His concept of pulchritude and puissance having ugly or "pussy-like" sounds doesn't ring true to me. I like both those words.
 
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