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Thread: a poem

  1. #1
    mmasny is offline Key Member
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    Default a poem

    Here's a poem I'd like to discuss. A Very Descript Man
    There are some things I'm not sure about.

    As I understand it, the author plays with words. S/he cuts negative prefixes off the words to make new words describing the man. Is that right?

    I am sure of these:
    eptly - ineptly
    becilic - imbecilic
    ane - inane
    dain - disdain
    cognito - incognito
    nonchalance - chalance
    digent - indigent
    astrous - disastrous

    They all follow one rule: to make an inexistent word out of an existent one.

    There is a group of words that are formed in the same way, save that they actually exist:
    dolent - indolent
    kempt - unkempt
    delible - indelible
    dignation - indignation

    My question is:
    is it so that these words (dolent, kempt, delible, dignation) are much less used than their negative counterparts (not necessarily antonyms - 'dolent' is not an antonym of 'indolent') so the reader should get an impression of them following the above mention pattern? Is it possible that the author didn't know these words and thought they didn't exist? Please, try to treat these words separately.

    Now, come the words 'pudent' - 'impudent'. I checked it the dictionary and to my surprise I didn't find it, but found 'pudency'. I think it should sound very natural to make 'pudent' out of 'pudency'. So again, is 'pudency' much harder to come across than 'impudent'?

    'Vagance' is something I can't recognize. What is it made of?

    Are there any other such pairs to be found in the verse?

    EDIT: I forgot one important thing. Does the title follow this rule somehow? I can't think how. The word 'descript' means 'described' in my opinion simply.

    EDIT 2: I've just noticed that there's also gusting - disgusting. I thought it was the participle from 'gust' before. Is span made this way too?
    Last edited by mmasny; 06-Mar-2010 at 13:29.

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: a poem

    Quote Originally Posted by mmasny View Post
    Here's a poem I'd like to discuss. A Very Descript Man
    There are some things I'm not sure about.

    As I understand it, the author plays with words. S/he cuts negative prefixes off the words to make new words describing the man. Is that right?
    Yes.

    There is a group of words that are formed in the same way, save that they actually exist:
    dolent - indolent
    kempt - unkempt
    delible - indelible
    dignation - indignation

    My question is:
    is it so that these words (dolent, kempt, delible, dignation) are much less used than their negative counterparts (not necessarily antonyms - 'dolent' is not an antonym of 'indolent') so the reader should get an impression of them following the above mention pattern?
    Yes. It might even be that these words are not used at all these days.


    Is it possible that the author didn't know these words and thought they didn't exist? Please, try to treat these words separately.
    Yes, it's possible, but she would probably have done some research. None of those words are commonly used.

    Now, come the words 'pudent' - 'impudent'. I checked it the dictionary and to my surprise I didn't find it, but found 'pudency'. I think it should sound very natural to make 'pudent' out of 'pudency'. So again, is 'pudency' much harder to come across than 'impudent'?
    Yes, but she chose "pudent" which isn't a word. I doubt whether anyone would actually use 'pudency'.


    'Vagance' is something I can't recognize. What is it made of?
    extravagance. He is not extravagant. He is vagant.

    Are there any other such pairs to be found in the verse?

    EDIT: I forgot one important thing. Does the title follow this rule somehow? I can't think how. The word 'descript' means 'described' in my opinion simply.
    No, 'descript' derives from 'nondescript'.

    EDIT 2: I've just noticed that there's also gusting - disgusting. I thought it was the participle from 'gust' before. Is span made this way too?
    I can't place 'span' just at the moment.
    Look here:
    Unpaired word - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  3. #3
    mmasny is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: a poem

    Thanks, that explains it all.

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