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#14300 - 01/09/01 11:28 PM Re: Words better known in their negative forms  
Joined: Jul 2000
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Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand
Jazzoctopus  Offline
old hand

Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 1,094
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?

#14301 - 01/10/01 08:17 PM Re: Words better known in their negative forms  
Joined: Jan 2001
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LauraBean Offline
LauraBean  Offline

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 2
Thrilled! ;-)

Laura in CT

Laura in CT
#14302 - 01/12/01 09:13 PM Re: Words better known in their negative forms  
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 1
Dickins Offline
Dickins  Offline

Joined: Dec 2000
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.

'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.'


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.

#14303 - 01/13/01 02:53 PM Re: Words better known in their negative forms  
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,757
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel
maverick  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,757
...varnished truth

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

#14304 - 01/19/01 08:20 AM Re: Words better known in their negative forms  
Joined: Mar 2000
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wsieber Offline
old hand
wsieber  Offline
old hand

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,027
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.

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