Research: MLP: Hitting the very bottom of the barrel

Print Article

Help, Dear Readers! The situation is dire. Calamitous, dreadful (anything but “very bad”). Bored to the point of fainting, one might say — comatose, spent (how much more these words convey!).

Why, you begrudgingly ask?

Because (writers have license to occasionally begin with a conjunction, or perhaps it’s the aforementioned calamity, but MLP does digress) — because once upon a time, Americans had a vocabulary broader than the average fourth-grader (i.e., more comprehensive, wide-ranging, anything but “very big”).

Synonyms are not mere substitutions. They can convey more — a matter of degree, of specificity. Simple, for example, can mean so many things. Unadorned — free of decoration or embellishment. Of low intellect. Pure and unadulterated. Which do you mean when you say “simple?”

This is why your MLP is addicted to old movies. Ah! Those long-lost years when American speech was so quick-witted, so clever, so astute! Sigh.

When books curried more interest, feeding the intellect. Double sigh.

In aid of that faint-hearted Snitty Old Biddy, and of those lonely and most-neglected dictionary and thesaurus, please, Dear Reader, consider these:

Very noisy? Deafening, ear-splitting, raucous (sound); flamboyant, flashy, gaudy (style).

Very painful? Excruciating, raw, throbbing; grievous, harrowing, heart-rending (emotion).

Very shy? Timid. Nervous. Cautious.

Very simple. Basic, unadorned, plain, pure.

Very quiet? Hushed, noiseless, taciturn (reserved).

Very rich? Wealthy, affluent (assets); ironic; luxuriant or opulent (décor), tasty (food).

Very poor? Destitute, broke, indigent; barren, desolate, or infertile (land); light, meager or scarce (less than normal); wanting, subpar, deficient, or inferior (substandard).

Very short? Brief, quick (time), petite (size).

Very scared? Petrified, horrified.

Less scared? Timid, hesitant, reticent.

Very old? Ancient, archaic, MLP (how rude!).

Very smart? Brilliant, clever, shrewd.

Very painful? This one is almost endless. Excruciating, unbearable, torturous, agonizing, insufferable — just like your Mrs. Language Person.

•••

Mrs. Language Person and Sholeh Patrick are word nerds and columnists for the Hagadone News Network who lament English’s slow (gradual or sluggish, not balmy or brainless — or is it?) death by neglect. Contact them at Sholeh@cdapress.com.

Print Article

Read More Sholeh Patrick

Research: No, we’ll never migrate off-world

October 17, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press I’m one of those astrophysics buffs. You know the type: Little knowledge, lots of fascination, soaking up Star Trek (TNG, naturally), reading Hawking and his ilk. Dreaming of life in space. The m...

Comments

Read More

Research: SCOTUS lineup won’t be a snoozer

October 15, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press It’s a brand new year for the U.S. Supreme Court, but the mood isn’t exactly festive. As SCOTUS begins its October 2019 Term, the slate of cases is rife with controversial and potentially life-alte...

Comments

Read More

Research: Do pets really make us healthier?

October 10, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press We should be careful with studies. They’re only worth what’s put into them — sample sizes, number of variables, control groups and other factors mean all studies are not created equal. A correlation ...

Comments

Read More

Research: Are serials making a comeback?

October 08, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Books and newspapers aren’t what they once were. Not long ago nearly every household took a daily paper. Bedstands almost invariably sported books beside reading lamps, because novels took the mind a...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2019 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X