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Thread: charmful

  1. #1
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    Default charmful

    Hello,

    I've just done the quizz "Adjectives ending -ful and -less" and think there is a mistake in answer 14. Surely, there is a word "charmful"?? If the answer is correct, could you please tell me why?

    Regards,
    Anna-Lena

  2. #2
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    Default Re: charmful

    Welcome, Anna-Lena.

    charm is a noun.

    adjective: charming

  3. #3
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    Default Re: charmful

    But if you enter "charmful" in google, you have 26,000 entries...
    and defintions of "charmful" as "abounding with charms".
    What is it that I don't get here?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: charmful

    Don't rely on Google -- all it tells you is that the word appears on 26,000 web pages; it doesn't tell you whether the word actually exists. If you look at some of the hits for "charmful", it's mostly brand names and such; otherwise, it is a scientific term specific to subatomic physics -- hardly an everyday word.

    The word does exist with that definition, but it is effectively obselete and rarely used. Few people know of its existence, and most would consider it wrong. "Charming" gets nearly 54 million hits on Google.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: charmful

    Additionally, Anna-Lena, it is a word, yes, but it isn't a "recognized" word. Your best bet, use a dictionary that deals in Standard English. Here's one: Dictionary.com, and it's free.

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    Default Re: charmful

    As a matter of fact, Casiopea, Dictionary.com does list "charmful" as an entry in Webster's (and Webster's is a very reputable dictionary).

    But that's the problem with dictionaries. Just because they list a particular word does not mean that that word is used or even known by the general public. Dictionaries also list unusual or archaic words which are recognised by people who know lots about language -- but on this site we're more interested in everyday language.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: charmful

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss
    As a matter of fact, Casiopea, Dictionary.com does list "charmful" as an entry in Webster's (and Webster's is a very reputable dictionary).
    Agreed. However, the source cited by both dictionary.com and Webster's Online Dictionary is from:

    Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    Version published 1913

    charmful (adj.)
    Abounding with charms. «His charmful lyre.» Cowley

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss
    But that's the problem with dictionaries. Just because they list a particular word does not mean that that word is used or even known by the general public.
    Well, the publishing date (and the source, Cowley, English poet, (1618-1667)) kind of gives it away, doncha thunk?

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss
    Dictionaries also list unusual or archaic words which are recognised by people who know lots about language
    And apparently by those whose first language isn't English and who appear to use Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913):

    Flogsta, a neighbourhood in the western outskirts of the Swedish town of Uppsalai, is generally not considered the most aesthetically charmful in town.

    Hajnówka, a town in north-eastern Poland, is a charmful place and people here are very hospitable and friendly.

    SOURCE: Answers.com
    Last edited by Casiopea; 12-Jun-2006 at 18:03.

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    Default Re: charmful

    Ah -- I didn't notice the date.

    I have a student who uses a dictionary from about 1930. I'll be explaining some word to him, he'll get a puzzled look on his face, open his dictionary and say, "But surely it means this?" Then I have to explain that perhaps it did mean that before the war, but people would give you funny look if you used it in that way now.

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    Default Re: charmful

    Oh, how I can relate, rewboss. Last month, while reading a student's essay, I came across a rather odd sounding 8 syllable noun, or was it 9?, that looked like English but didn't seem to have a single entry in any of the dictionaries I had or had access to. I don't remember the word now, but later, when I had a chance to ask the student about the meaning of the word, he proudly pulled out the dictionary he was using - a somewhat 19th century looking book the size of, well, it could have passed for the NY phone book - and pointed with great joy to the word in question. It was there - in that book. Modern meaning, gymnasium. "It's my grandfather's father's dictionary," he said.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: charmful

    Hi,

    Thanks for all your answers. - Actually, I'd always say "he's a charming person" etc. - I just had the feeling that I had read "charmful" somewhere and wondered why the exercise said that it didn't exist (which seemed even more strange with 26,000 entries in google). But, you convinced me, I won't add it to my active vocabulary .
    Thanks again,
    AL

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