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Merle

Merle

Unusable words

I found this article looking for more words like "pulchritude" and "puissant," which are unusable because they sound the opposite of what they mean. No other examples like that here, but it has many interesting things to say about words.

 

Like this:

 

"I sometimes regret the passing out of our lives of profanity--not the four-letter words themselves (which are, of course, everywhere) but the instinctual belief that some terms should be considered unfit for public use. There's an odd comfort to this notion; it testifies to the enduring power of language, a faith in the potency of mere syllables to shock and outrage."

 

To me the types of people who write angry reviews based on the fact that a book contains profanity are annoying, putting those mere syllables on the same level as violence or deviant sexual behavior or what have you (our considering sex as bad or worse than violence is another story altogether). How, exactly, do they think a "dirty" word is going to harm anyone? Maybe they just have more respect for language than I do.