1 of 2
1
flaccid and other “skunked” words
Posted: 20 January 2014 05:00 AM   [ Ignore ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4750
Joined  2007-01-03

Not skunked because they run afoul of some inane usage rule, but because they become associated with one and only one context.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard flaccid spoken except in reference to a penis, and written uses in other contexts are rare and usually dated.

(The OED also gives the one and only pronunciation as /ˈflæksɪd/, although I’ve never heard it pronounced with a /k/ sound. Merriam-Webster gives the /k/ pronunciation as an alternative. I don’t know whether the OED reflects British pronunciation or just an old one—the entry hasn’t been updated since the first edition.)

Any other examples of words that are indelibly linked to a particular context, even though they have potential for widespread use?

(When I worked for the government, in boring day-long conferences, we used to run challenges for entertainment, betting surreptitiously that a person couldn’t work a particular word or phrase into the conversation. Flaccid was always a good one.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 January 2014 06:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  335
Joined  2007-02-13

Funny, this morning I was thinking about General Buck Turgidson from Dr. Strangelove.  Does “turgid” fit the bill?

Also, last year former big league player and manager Lou Piniella (born 1943) caused a kerfuffle when he criticized a trade as a “rape”.  No doubt his use of the word was influenced by the famous “rape of the Red Sox” (the Babe Ruth deal) of 1919, but the word apparently has only one meaning to a large segment of the population these days.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 January 2014 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  358
Joined  2007-02-13

I think moist is getting there.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 January 2014 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3107
Joined  2007-02-26

I have never heard it said with a /k/ either, though I suppose that pronunciation “makes sense” (cf occident,)

Can we think of other -cci- or -cce- words pronunced without a /k/, other than those of Italian origin?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 January 2014 07:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  335
Joined  2007-02-13
OP Tipping - 20 January 2014 07:00 AM

Can we think of other -cci- or -cce- words pronunced without a /k/, other than those of Italian origin?

At work I routinely hear the word “accessorial” pronounced like the “cc” was “ss”.  The context is “accessorial charges” such as tolls or demurrage charged by a trucking company in addition to the regular freight fee.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 January 2014 07:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2839
Joined  2007-01-31

Impotent is on its way, if not fully there yet.

ISTM that I still hear turgid as a description of writing style.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 January 2014 08:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2021
Joined  2007-02-19

Does “turgid” fit the bill?

no. It’s used in many contexts: turgid waters, turgid writing, turgid thoughts ---

Pipped by Dr. T.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 January 2014 11:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2334
Joined  2007-01-30

Always pronounced it with the k sound (at least since grammar school days and our speech tutor Dr King) but I admit there are a lot of people that pronounce it without in the UK. What is it about flaccid that leads people to use a non-k pronunciation I wonder when there’s no such temptation with success and access.

It just hit me that accident is a better example.

[ Edited: 20 January 2014 11:39 AM by aldiboronti ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 January 2014 12:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4750
Joined  2007-01-03

Rape is definitely in this category. The sense of “carrying off, theft” is almost entirely gone, preserved mainly in titles like The Rape of the Lock.

I don’t think turgid is, at least not yet. As Dr. T points out, it’s often used in reference to writing.

And I don’t know what’s going on with moist. As far as I can tell, the aversion to the word is entirely irrational, unconnected to any meaning or association. Some people, mostly women, simply hate the word.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 January 2014 02:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  444
Joined  2007-10-20

According to Holt N. Parker in this article in The Classical Quarterly, the word flaccus never had much robust usage even in classical Latin, occurring there only twice. (?)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 January 2014 06:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3506
Joined  2007-01-29

Always pronounced it with the k sound

Me too (a Yank).

Rape is definitely in this category. The sense of “carrying off, theft” is almost entirely gone, preserved mainly in titles like The Rape of the Lock.-

Oh, come on.  It’s entirely gone, full stop, and only English majors (and probably not all of those) have any idea what “The Rape of the Lock” means (nobody else has even heard of it).

According to Holt N. Parker

Hey, my old friend from grad school!  Nice to see him show up here

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 January 2014 08:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4750
Joined  2007-01-03

Oh, come on.  It’s entirely gone, full stop

Of course, had I said that it was completely gone, someone (probably you) would have thrown up a few examples of it not being so. I teach my first-year students to avoid absolutes unless they are sure that there are no counter-examples.

And “rape and pillage” is another fossilized usage. It may be re-analyzed as sexual assault, but often it’s used in the sense of “loot and pillage.”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 January 2014 09:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1276
Joined  2007-03-21

someone (probably you)

Thus the game we play here. Try to make a statement, rethinking that statement, trying to guess how others might respond, posting that statement only to find that someone responding in an opposite way from our expectations. duck, duck, goose.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 January 2014 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2839
Joined  2007-01-31

Fritz Lieber (1910-1992) used “rape” for “seize, steal, carry off”, even in some of his later stories.  Of course, he’d become a bit of a Dirty Old Man and was, I think, partially using it for shock value.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 January 2014 02:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2021
Joined  2007-02-19

I think it’s LEIBER, doc, as not in “ach, du leiber Augustin, alles ist weg”

smirks gleefully, while popping plump juicy nit with tongue against roof of mouth, like the commensal crab inside a sea urchin

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 January 2014 03:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2334
Joined  2007-01-30

Your similes are positively Homeric, lionello!

I’ve fallen foul of the spelling myself in the past, probably influenced by German pronunciation rules. (I always say it Lee-ber). His old man was a Shakespearean actor and often turns up in B-moviea of the 20s/40s/50s. Coincidentally I saw him in the Dick Powell movie To The Ends of the Earth yesterday.

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1