A Russian student had not met a fellow student and asked a friend what she looked like. The friend explained facial characteristics, height, hair, etc., hemmed and hawed, and then said, "and she is pleasingly plump". The Russian student looked blank so she then said, "she is heavy set". Another blank look; so finally, "she is fat". That description seems to pervade all cultures. However, we then realized how many words there are to describe weight--both over and under. What ones can you come up with?
It doesn't mean "fat" exactly, but one word I've always wanted to use is callipygous. It means "possessing beautifully proportioned buttocks". Goya's women have been described thus, and they are definitely "pleasingly plump".
In this day and age of political correctness,how about 'weight challenged'?
There are huge (no pun intended) differences between "pleasingly plump," "heavy set," and "fat." "Pleasingly plump" is just that - voluptuous or curvateous is a way that is pleasing to the eye. (sidenote: I've never heard this term used in reference to a male of any weight.) "Heavy set" implies a linebacker physique. "Fat," sorry, is fat and I don't think the first two terms really shouldn be used as euphonisms for the third if they don't really apply.
The previously mentioned "zaftig" (don't believe there's a final "h" but I could be wrong) is a great Yiddish word meaning, approximately, "pleasingly plump" in its most positive and desirable sense. The best example that comes to mind is the character Elaine (the secretary/receptionist) from the show "Ally McBeal" - curvy, fleshy, and very very hot!
Ally herself was an anorexic self-centered stick figure but that's another thread...
Cross-threading here to our "I am pleasingly plump" thread in Wordplay. Here's hoping the link works:
Buxom. (Yeah, most of it's just fat!)
Skinny, as in having more skin than most people. I do believe that there are thermodynamic advantages to such a build. Fat people don't freeze to death so fast.
Asa says: "Buxom. (Yeah, most of it's just fat!)"
Interesting word, buxom. My dictionary gives two definitions, which I feel are distinctly different.
1. Attractively plump and well-proportioned; said of women.
2. Having a large bosom.
I have always called myself buxom. I will let you guess which definition I am referring to though!
I'm a BBW, myself! That is a Big Beautiful Woman.
Most of the other words I can think of, compare people to animals.
a Whale (or a beached whale)
a Horse (eats like ...)
and the opposite:
eats like a bird
How about a very simple, she's a "large" woman.
Or how about "rotund"?
C J Strolin says: "curvy, fleshy, and very very hot!"
Ladies, I don't know what you all think, but it sounds like C J is a keeper! Welcome to the board C J!
"And the opposite: eats like a bird"
What a misnomer! Some birds, notably hummingbirds, eat more than their own body weights each day. How'd YOU like to have that kind of metabolism!
PS: When did BBW cease to mean "Big Bad Wolf?"
Is the opposite of portly starboardly?
Embonpoint? That is a new one to me.
CJ, you are completely right--those 3 terms that my student originally used had 3 separate meanings. As a group, we had a great time coming up with many more. Interestingly, it did depend on cultures--and even parts of the country (USA). And, CJ, welcome to the board!
Going back to CJ's point about zaftig, from yiddish meaning roughly "pleasingly plump:
The "h" is just a question of transcription style, since yiddish doesn't use the same alphabet as english.
I think of the word as meaning "plump" in a cuddly sense, not a hot one. That is, more for a pleasingly plump woman of good-natured middle-age, than for a similarly constructed young vamp-on-the-prowl like Elaine. (I share your views about Elaine, by the way.)
I'm surprised we haven't mentioned obese yet. Fleshy is another, and avoirdupois is a good 'un.
There are so so many synonyms! We could very well list scores more (for any word in fact). But there is no such thing as an exact synonym. Each 'synonym' has its own level of formality, and idiomacy, different denotations,connotations, associations. Compare the words 'corpulent' and 'lardass'. They could hardly be used interchangeably and yet they both basically mean 'fat'. What is most useful, I think, is saying in what context one would use these words and what kind of associations they have for us.
>> There are so so many synonyms!
The vocabulary of negatives is often large. And we haven't yet even gotten into phrases of fat instead of words.
A minute in the mouth; two hours in the stomach; forever on the hips.
Wildflowerchild, I love Ally McBeal-challenged! Or maybe Jennifer Aniston-challenged! By the way, welcome to the board, Wildflowerchild!
Arnie, I think people are leaving out some of the obvious (ie, obese) for some of the more obscure (eg, embonpoint, which I still don't know anything about!) One of the clinical conditions is Prader-Willi syndrome, a morbid obesity.
it's good to feel welcome. yes, jennifer aniston challenged is even better. i bet brad pitt is a challenge, if you know what i mean and i think you do.
what about voluptuous? when i've been called that, it upset me because i thought they were just trying to be nice. however, voluptuary is someone who enjoys good food and wine, so i guess it's another word for fat.
Embonpoint come from the French en bon point, and literally means "in good condition". In Victorian times and earlier the "ideal" female shape was rather larger than the stick-insect archetype seen as beauty today. I have already mentioned Goya's callipygous ladies; they could also be described as embonpoint: Rubens also painted such models. We even call such women Rubenesque
My grandmother, a formidable lady, was one who could be described as embonpoint. What I remember particularly about her was that she didn't seem to have breasts (plural); she did however, have an impressive bosom (singular).
As Hamlet noted, in the end fat is genetically determined.
There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will.
Thanks, Arnie. My dictionary only said embonpoint was plumpness, but nothing about the derivation. That is a keeper!
How about pot-bellied or beer-bellied? The latter is from USA beers that, from another thread, the Brits don't much like!
I suppose the "potpourri" section is the appropriate place to discuss potbellies.
A "potbelly" is so named because it is round and protuberant, shaped like a cooking pot (the sort witches dance round). It doesn't necessarily have any connection with beer-drinking.
However, beer was often drunk out of "pots", collected by a potboy, so I'd guess there is some crossover between a "potbelly" and a "beerbelly".
For Arnie...(sorry....long story ahead!)
I went to a picnic yesterday for a club I belong to. While sitting, talking to some folks, I couldn't help overhearing the man next to me discussing a woman with a nice...ummmm..."backside". I interupted and informed him if he wanted to compliment her, he should tell her she is callipygous! This created a few chuckles, and I finally explained what it meant to him and his brothers, and his mother! (These men were in their 50's and mom was a proud 82!)
During the course of the day, callipygous became the word of the day at the picnic. I even had to choose someone to explain the word properly, and chose the newly divorced dad who just lost 94 pounds to be my callipygous model! He took it all in stride, and said he was flattered by the compliment!
So, now, about 30 farmers from the towns of Boston and Eden, New York, all have a new word for their vocabularies. Of course, they were all fighting over who had the most callipygous cows in town when I left!
A callipygous cow? I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder...
de gustibus: "I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder... "
Behold the hippopotamus!
We laugh at how he looks to us,
And yet in moments dank and grim,
I wonder how we look to him.
Peace, peace, thou hippopotamus!
We really look all right to us,
As you no doubt delight the eye
Of other hippopotami.
-- Ogden Nash
[The site on which this was found refers to it as a hippopotamusing.]
Well, in this case, beauty was in the eye of the beer holder by the end of the day!
them cows look like 2's at 10, and 10's at 2?ñ ë
You got it wildflowerchild!
Well, so far my most favorite words on this site are embonpoint amd callypigous!
Chunky is another word commonly heard.
Is Kalleh callipygous?
Would the specific term be kallehpygous? [he asked innocently.]
We now know how the lady chose her screen-name!
You've got some cheek to ask that!
I uncovered (!) these words on an on-line check of the -pyg- root. List excludes OED; medical or scientific words; and words found only in one dictionary (unless it is one published in hard-copy), as being too likely to be the whim of the author.
callipygian (or callipygous) - Having beautifully proportioned buttocks
dasypygal - having hairy buttocks
pygalgia (or pygia) - A pain in the butt
steatopygian - with an extreme accumulation of fat on the buttocks.
I could not find out whether pygmalion (as in the Shaw play made into My Fair Lady), taken from a character in Greek myth, ultimately traces back to this root.
With disappointment, I report finding no trace of these possible coinages:
hippopygian - a horse's ass
hemipygian - half-assed
OOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I like this word! I know so many people it applies to!
LMPO!!!! (=laughing my pygs off!)
Thanks, arnie! I agree!
As for you, Shufitz, with red cheeks, but without a giraffe neck, it is really hard for me to know!
However, let me explain why I decided on the name of Kalleh. Most people know that "Kalleh" means bride in Yiddish, while "calli" means beautiful in Greek. However, while reading Leo Rosten's "Joys of Yiddish", I came across 2 stories that made me want to use Kalleh.
When something is exceptionally fortunate or felicitous, too-good-to-be-true, or when someone can't believe a stroke of great luck, a delightful comment is to be found in the saying, "What's wrong? The kalleh is tzu shayne? ('is the bride too beautiful?')"
In ancient Judea, where kalleh meant "months of study", scholars would withdraw from the world for a "kalleh month", ie a month in which they would remarry the torah.
quote:I've come across this before in the alternative form of steatopygous.
Well, the original Pygmalion was a king of Cyprus who fell in love with a statue of his own making. Certainly the behaviour of an ass, whether or not his name reflects it!
wildflowerchild mentioned the word "voluptuary". I think of that word as meaning one who gives himself over to overindulgence in "the pleasures of the flesh" [a delicate euphemism], not limited to the pleasures of food and drink.
If 'pyalgia' means pain in the butt, do you think Camille Paglia knows how closely her last name comes to being accurate?
I HATE the word "obese"! It's even worse than "fat".
I HATE the word "obese"! It's even worse than "fat".
Since the "Y" ending usually connotes a quality, such as sleepy, dopey, or brainy, shall we then call gravity-enhanced people "skinny" because they have more skin than thin ones?