"I am large. I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Friday, June 29, 2007

Weird words

I've heard the word "underwhelm" used sometimes and it strikes me as odd. Nifty, sure, but odd. Sure, we know exactly what it means - that it's the antonym of "overwhelm' - but whelm in itself means to submerge, which gives it a tsunami-like quality. And when you're submerged, it is always over, never under.

Given that though, in the pure context of communicating clearly, the word has proven useful.

How about when Filipinos say "tuck out" when we mean to say the opposite of "tuck in?" Tuck means to fold, or fit securely and snugly, which by its definition makes it impossible to use and mean the reverse.

I cringe every time I hear it. But I always keep mum because the only friends whose company I truly feel unencumbered to correct these things in are the geeks. And this phrase never comes out in conversation with the geeks cause they know better. We are grammar snobs. (Ok there I said it.) Except maybe for Noniecakes who is clearly a broadcasting major. (Fine, he has an MBA too.)

Then there are mispronounced words. I quite like the word "respite" which is mispronounced so often, I find. It should rhyme with "cesspit" not "despite."

And then there are words which sound like how they mean. "Bemoan." "Impregnable." "Kulasisi." Love them!

(Photo credit: jwsnell00)


benjiedlp said...

i am guilty of using underwhelming. (so much for geek grammar snobbery.)

so would it better to say un-whelmed? or un-whelming?



benjiedlp said...

oh. and don't forget;

"mag hunos dili"



Mayang said...

I can still live with underwhelm (as mentioned in the second paragraph of the entry)

Well, given those choices, I would pick underwhelm!

And I love those Pinoy words you mentioned, Zippy. Winners all!

Anonymous said...



Mayang said...

Yeah that too!

Anonymous said...

weird word last night... "MASANGSANG"...


Mayang said...

i agree, that *is* a weird word!

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