Rants and Whimsy

Words that should mean other things

May 13, 2016

Sometimes words sound exactly like the thing they mean. They fit. You hear the word, you find out what it means and you just go “of course”. It all works together nicely.

Other times, you hear a word, you learn what it means, you accept it because you have sod all power over the way the English language develops, but secretly you think “no”.

You think no because that word does not sound like the thing it means, it sounds like it should mean something completely different and you’re not sure how we ended up in this mess.

So then I come along with a list of things that would sound better if they meant other things. Obviously I have no chance of changing anything but I hope maybe some of you will nod along in agreement at home.

GorgonzolaGorgonzola
What it means: a veined Italian blue cheese, made from unskimmed cow’s milk
What it should mean: technically an Italian word, so we’ll give it a pass, but let me just put it out there that Gorgonzola should be the name of a monster. Not a cheese. An epic monster, with a movie franchise. Maybe the monster likes cheese, who knows, all I’m saying is that he’s big and he’s related to the Gorgons (you may have met Medusa in your studies) and he’s angry about all kinds of shit.

 

Tabernacle
What it means: biblical, it’s a fixed or movable dwelling, typically of light construction / a tent used as a sanctuary for the Ark of the Covenant by the Israelites during the Exodus
What it should mean: Some kind of furnishing you’d find in your grandmother’s house. You can almost imagine her being upset that you ruined her favourite tabernacle by spilling orange cordial all over it as a child. It probably has embroidery. It definitely has tassels.

Candelabra

Candelabra
What it means: plural noun for a large branched candlestick or holder for several candles or lamps
What it should mean: I can never say this word. I start off by saying “candle” I try to swing into “abracadabra” but it never works out. I’m down with a candle still being involved, but it needs to be more magical and mystical. Like, a candle stick holder that’s really pointy and primarily used for killing vampires.

 

Penultimate
What it means: last but one in a series of things; second last
What it should mean: when things are shiny and metallic and glow a little bit, they should be called penultimate. How do you describe that necklace? Penultimate. What kind of ball gown are you looking for? Penultimate. One word to describe your make up style as a 15 year old girl? Penultimate.

Ramekin

Ramekin
What it means: a small dish for baking and serving an individual portion of food
What it should mean: close relatives of both munchkins and dwarves, ramekins are rather gruff, quite beardy, short and enjoy eating pickles. They can perform magic if you give them a turnip.

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  • Gabrielle

    Brilliant take/view on Candelabra, that had me laughing! I prefer your interpretation of the word ‘penultimate’ too, though forget the 15 year old girls – I’m on board with describing my eyeliner as penultimate šŸ˜‰

    aglassofice.com
    x

    • Eyeliner ,yes. Eyeshadow, best left with the 15 year olds šŸ˜‰

  • I love the gorgonzola one, once or twice Fredrik has questioned me on why words mean what they do and if they are related to other words and I just shake my head and say no one knows.

    • It’s definitely monster related and I won’t hear differently šŸ˜‰

  • Haha, I agree with you on all these. Your version make much more sense!

    Corinne x

  • Love these! Especially penultimate. I think we should make your new definition a trend. šŸ˜‰

  • hahaha this is hilarious! Definitely get the gorgonzola thing, Italian is a beautiful language but that is not one of their prettier words!! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Food, Travel, Italy

    • It would be a great movie franchise, though x

  • adales8

    Gorgonzola is one of those words that if you say it enough it loses all sense if being a word! x

    • I’ve often had this problem with “fork”. I don’t know why.