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#140057 02/22/05 05:16 AM
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The other day I told my bunch that I would pass this to you for enlightenment or whatever.
Someone mentioned a pretty busy day, but 'not overwhelming.'
Then, again, they said, it wasn't 'underwhelming':)
They were just whelmed.
Was this ever a commonly used word? Where did it come from, or where did it go?
I know we could look in a dictionary, but this is more fun.


#140058 02/22/05 05:36 AM
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originally, to be whelmed was itself to be pretty overwhelmed. but there's always someone that has to get hyperbolic about these things. <g>

whelm and overwhelm are both quite old (1300 and 1400 respectively); underwhelm was coined ca. 1956.

#140059 02/22/05 09:40 AM
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1956 ... obviously took them a long time to get over being whelmed, didn't it?


#140060 02/22/05 09:58 AM
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Maybe they were quasi-whelmed.


#140061 02/22/05 11:32 AM
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If underwhelmed meant what it should mean it would be just as bad as overwhelmed. It would mean having your base washed out from beneath you leaving you nothing to stand on.


#140062 02/22/05 11:43 AM
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Then there's always Matt wHelmed, said of a villain who is undone by a 60s secret agent. Note: this is not the secrfet agent played by Dean Martin, these are novels by a guy named Donald Hamilton, beginning with Death of a Citizen IIRC.



TEd
#140063 02/22/05 02:42 PM
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Just as "underwhelmed" has been derived from "overwhelmed," "whelmed" in the new sense of "no special effect; eliciting a feeling of indifference" has entered the vocabulary recently (in the last 20 years, in my experience) as a backformation of sorts from "overwhelmed." My American Heritage Dictionary doesn't yet include the new meaning of "whelmed" in its definitions, but I'd bet that'll change soon enough.

Aside: while typing this, I managed to write "volcabulary" ... which I now take the opportunity to define as "terms related to the field of volcanology."


#140064 02/22/05 02:44 PM
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> volcabulary

or using explosive words...



formerly known as etaoin...
#140065 02/23/05 12:41 AM
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Jomama, it's nice to see you again. [HUG]


#140066 02/23/05 01:19 AM
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The volcabulary are the people with guns and badges who keep hikers and curiosity seekers out of the area around Mount Saint Helens when she is threatening to erupt .. like now.


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