Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Page 2 of 2 < 1 2
Topic Options
#14300 - 01/09/01 06:28 PM Re: Words better known in their negative forms
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
Laura, your profile tells us that your full name is Laura Bush. Are you excited to be moving into the White House?


Top
#14301 - 01/10/01 03:17 PM Re: Words better known in their negative forms
LauraBean Offline
stranger

Registered: 01/09/01
Posts: 2
Thrilled! ;-)

Laura in CT
_________________________
Laura in CT

Top
#14302 - 01/12/01 04:13 PM Re: Words better known in their negative forms
Dickins Offline
stranger

Registered: 12/18/00
Posts: 1
You've reminded me of a hobby I pursued a few years ago. Here are some messy notes, distinguishing between
positive neglected positives and negative neglected positives. If I succeed in Copying.

POSITIVE POSITIVES
'Requited love,' for example. Surely that is the best kind, and yet we only hear about the opposite, UNrequited love--just as we only hear about CONTRAception, at the expense of attention to PROception. REQUITED love is the sort of thing that comes--as Joan Wilder says, in the movie "Romancing the Stone"--to 'hopeFUL romantics'.

Perhaps it is the reward one reaps from being an active, or LISTFUL, sort while being imbued with a ruthFUL drive to succeed--that is, by RELENTING ambition to get ahead; by a SWERVING DEVOTION to duty; by a ceaseFUL QUEST. People of that sort are imbued with a SHAKABLE DETERMINATION to succeed. They try to make sure that their daily conduct is marked by mostly CONSCIONABLE acts.

Now I'm going to have the MITIGATED GALL to make a CALLED FOR REMARK. It is that, in spite of what we read on the sports pages, there has never been an UNDISPUTED CHAMPION of anything. To credit somebody with being the UNDISPUTED champion is to deal in VARNISHED TRUTH.

Some people, to be sure, are top of the heap. But their position as Number One is almost constantly under challenge. Champions are DISPUTED champions.

But perhaps the phrase "DISputed champion" really is a negative phrase, whose positive counterpart is "puted champion."

By the same token, so to speak, it is more than conceivable that some ALLEGATIONS are baseFUL allegations; that some ORIENTALS are SCRUTABLE; that PROGRESS on more than a few occasions is FETTERED PROGRESS; that some news is good news--is not DISTRESSING or DISTURBING but, on the contrary, is TRESSING or TURBING; and that some DUPES are WITTING dupes.

PECCABLE ůsome drug traffickers deal in LICIT drugs.

I also venture to suggest that some MOBS of people--or sheep or horses, for that matter--are RULY MOBS. But perhaps I'm wrong there. Maybe the phrase 'unruly mob' is redundant. Maybe a 'mob' is a crowd whose members are distinctive for their lack of 'ruliness.'

What is more, it's high time we devoted more attention to hypothetical encounters between RESISTIBLE forces and MOVABLE objects. Even if we only give that subject our DIVIDED ATTENTION.
And while being heretical, let's go all the way. Let us entertain the possibility that some BUREAUCRATS are mindFUL bureaucrats, performing their 'thankFUL tasks' diligently. They are worthy of PRO-DEM-NATION, even if their reputations are 'spotFUL reputations.'


NEGATIVE POSITIVES

It is possible that the RECORDS achieved by some people are BLEMISHED RECORDS; that some STYLES are IMITABLE; that some TASTES and MANNERS are PECCABLE.
The adjective in these phrases is formally positive--the opposite of IMpeccable and so on--but it gives a negative or derogatory spin to the thing it modifies. PECCABLE manners are off-putting. If our manners are peccable, in all probability our CHARMS are EFFABLE. We'd be lucky to inspire even BLUSHING admiration or SWERVING devotion. We may acquire a positively negative SPOTFUL REPUTATION.
Some of us are positively wimpish people. We are readily CURABLE optimists. FLAPPABLE, dogged by NAMEFUL FEARS, heedFUL of consequences, managing only a RUFFLED CALM, we go about things with SHAKABLE FAITH, with FLINCHING GAZE, with PARALLELLED FEROCITY, with ruthFUL determination; with wills more than a bit DOMITABLE.
As explorers we'd be TREPID, fearing encounters with such creatures as TOOTHFUL TIGERS, and expecting to be all too easily SCATHED. In any pursuit we'd be DEFATIGABLE, or perhaps FATIGABLE: our activities, CESSANT; our hopes and expectations, BOUNDFUL; our progress, consequently, FETTERED and EXORABLE. On history we leave only marks that are DELIBLE.
But even FearFUL Fosdicks can be PERVIOUS to Temptation. Even with our BRIDLED PASSIONS and SATIABLE APPETITES we can be lured into participating in MACULATE CONCEPTIONS. The results may be AWE-LESS.
And that's the varnished truth.




Top
#14303 - 01/13/01 09:53 AM Re: Words better known in their negative forms
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
...varnished truth

Welcome aboard, Dickins. As a sidelight on your licit contribution, does anyone have any idea whence comes 'varnished truth' as a concept?


Top
#14304 - 01/19/01 03:20 AM Re: Words better known in their negative forms
wsieber Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 1026
Loc: Switzerland
Hi Dickins,
What a great collection! The corresponding German virus also caught me occasionally.
The word unwirsch means "in a bad mood". Only much later I discovered that "wirsch" also exists - and far from the contrary, it is used in much the same sense as "unwirsch". So much for the Logic of language.


Top
Page 2 of 2 < 1 2


Moderator:  Jackie 
Forum Stats
8690 Members
16 Forums
13786 Topics
213059 Posts

Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members
jiujieaaa, efghij655407, sa'a, csmoore, Jane Luckner
8689 Registered Users
Who's Online
0 registered (), 30 Guests and 2 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
wofahulicodoc 79
LukeJavan8 59
endymion6 57
jenny jenny 50
Tromboniator 13
Faldage 5
jiujieaaa 3
Mercur10 1
Jane Luckner 1
MR LOGOPHILE 1
April
Su M Tu W Th F Sa
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30

Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 2014 Wordsmith