This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Word To Use Today: stench.

This perfectly gorgeous word is hardly ever heard. This is a great shame.


Isn't it just hugely satisfying?

I suppose we do try to avoid stenches, but even if you live your life in a fragrant haze of eau de cologne and freesias, and are seldom the house-guest of a hippopotamus, have a picnic on a landfill site (landfill: what a perfectly bland euphemism that is), or wander through a tanning factory, then there's bound to be a stench of corruption somewhere not too far away, whether of a politician feathering his own nest, a teacher favouring his pet, or a journalist tapping the odd phone.

Oh dear.

Even if everyone you know is virtuous and odour-free (and how dull that would be) then you'll probably have a stench trap somewhere near you. A stench trap is oddly named as it doesn't trap stenches at all, it sets them free: it's a water seal in a sewage system that stops gases rising back to haunt us like the ghost of Christmas dinners past.

Word To Use Today: stench. This word comes from the Old English stenc, and is related to the Old Saxon stank and the Old Norse stökkva, to burst. 


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