Sunday, November 8, 2009

Word of the Day: Repugnant

Don't you just love words??? I like all kinds of words, but the ones I like the best are the words that sound like what that they mean (technically, as all wordies who every participated in a spelling bee know, the word for that is onomatopoeia, which is a waaaaay cool word -- and, no, I didn't remember how to spell it). It isn't just the sound of those kinds of words when they are spoken aloud it that I think is fun; I like the way the words feel in my mouth when I say them.

Consider the word "repugnant". Just try to say it without making a face! I can't do it. Can you? I love the feel of the word in my mouth and the hard consonants kind of spitting out my distaste.

Most of the writing experts I have been reading lately advise writers to use simple, straight-forward language and to avoid multi-syllable words. Most of the time that is good advice. I like to read strong, simple writing, too. It's hard as hell to write, which is why so few people do it well.

Sometimes, however, there is just no substitute for a good old-fashioned onomatopoetic three-syllable word. For example, if I were to tell you what I think of the behavior of the people in Washington who have been writing and speaking on the subject of health care reform, the word "repugnant" seems to be about close as English can get to perfect. One or two syllables just doesn't achieve the proper level of disdain.


Good word, that.



  1. I agree. Repugnant is an excellent word. And one we often forget about. We should use it when appropriate and bring it back into common usage.

    Straight From Hel

  2. Unfortunately there are a lot of opportunities to use it!