What's in a word?

I’ve often discussed how much I love and value language. The sheer beauty of words, their ability to convey thoughts, ideas, values, images is a never-ending source of delight to me.

There are some words that by their very sound convey their meaning. The term “onomatopoeia” was coined to describe words that derive from the sound of their meaning. Smack, boom, buzz, and murmur are all examples. My favorite is the word Edgar Allen Poe invented to describe the ringing of bells, “tintinnabulation.”

But there are some words that grate on me. They seem to almost contradict their very meaning. For example, why is “abbreviate” such a long word?

That’s not the worse offender, though. The term for a very fine rain, barely more than droplets, is “drizzle.” The harsh “z” sounds strike me as a singularly inappropriate form of expression for such a soft phenomenon.

That’s why yesterday morning I described the weather as “misting.”

If it wasn't for double standards, they'd have no standards at all...
Now We Know What John Kerry Was Hiding


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