This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Thing Not To Be Today: pungent.

What do you smell like this Valentine's Day? 

Roses? Lavender? Cedarwood? 


Whatever it is, I assume you're going for some subtly alluring scent rather than a sinus-scouringly pungent one (there 's nothing worse than a pungent unguent).

Pungent things, of course, have their place (and it seems to be Sweden, where the official advice about the traditional delicacy surströmming, a type of fermented herring, is said to be to open the tin outdoors, but to eat the stuff indoors because of the flies), but for anyone who cherishes words the chief matter of interest is, of course, what exactly is a pung?

Well, it's a horse-drawn sledge used in North America.

And what's that got to do with the word pungent?

Sadly, absolutely nothing whatsoever.

Ah well.

Thing Not To Be Today: pungent. This word comes from the Latin pungens, piercing, from pungere, to prick, The word pung is short for the Algonquian tom-pung, which is related to our word toboggan.

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