Friday, April 13, 2012

The English Language

School starts back here on Monday following the two week easter break. In my preparations for this horrific event (here’s where I complain, ‘I don’t wanna!’), I was doing some googling about different words. Sound fascinating, doesn’t it? I’m sure my students will agree.

Well, I made a discovery.

Pretty words often describe attractive things. For example, ‘Katrina’. Beautiful, huh? And ugly words typically describe ugly things. For example, ‘leech’. Ugly, ugly.
Here’s further examples from my research:

Beautiful words:
Cascade: steep waterfall

Sapphire: rich, deep bluish purple

Tranquility: peacefulness

Ugly words: It's harder than you think to find ugly words that you can put appropriate pictures to.

Grimace: expression of disgust or pain

Hirsute: hairy

And a few without pictures:

Slaughter: butcher, carnage
Grotesque: distorted, bizarre
Visceral: crude, anatomically graphic

And, as always with the English language, here are some exceptions:

Cholera (pretty word, ugly meaning)

Calamity (pretty word, even a nice name, but unfortunate meaning)

Bucolic (ugly word – means ‘pretty countryside')

And finally,


Such a beautiful word that conjures such an unfortunate picture.

1 comment:

  1. I've often thought about this. Funny post! When my daughter had her baby, the nurse in the hospital told us that a couple (from another country) contemplated naming their daughter Meconium... I hope they changed their mind once they learned the meaning of the word. ;)