This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Fulsome: another rant.

Look, can we just stop for a moment and contemplate the interesting fact that the people who rant loudest about a word being used in a new (or, as they usually put it, wrong) way are also those who like to inform us, with a satisfied smirk, that the word wrong comes from the Old English wrang, injustice.

This makes absolutely no sense at all, obviously, but, hey, it seems mean to spoil their fun.

Having said all that, sometimes it's sad to see a good word die, and although I'm largely resigned to the use of the word fulsome to mean enthusiastic instead of insincere (as when, entertainingly, the British Deputy Prime Minister in the House of Commons suggested that our Fire Service was owed fulsome praise), now we have a new horror. 

The actor Julian Rhind-Tutt, a man who claims to read Tolstoy and Dickens, has referred in a Radio Times interview to his plump, fulsome sofa with big curved arms and lots of padding.

I don't know what's more appalling: his use of the word fulsome in this context, or the fact that I know absolutely exactly what he means.

Word To Use Today: sofa. This word has changed its meaning, too. In the 1600s it described a dais upholstered as a seat. The word comes from the Arabic suffah.

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