Why do some words sound like what they mean and others don’t?

say what?

The cow says moo.An onomatopoeia is a word “which imitates the natural sounds of a thing. It creates a sound effect that mimics the thing described….” [1]

Bees buzz, cows moo, horses whinny, etc.

However, there are some words that sound so much not like what they mean that you can get yourself in trouble using them.

For instance, the word pulchritudinous sounds more like the symptom of an infectious disease than a compliment. If you say:

pulchritudinous.
 
“My, what a pulchritudinous woman you are!”

to your date, chances are you’re going to get slapped – even though you shouldn’t. Pulchritudinous actually means:

“having great physical beauty.” [2]

Huh? Who, how, and why, we ask ourselves, would someone come up with such an ugly-sounding word to describe beauty?

Inquiring minds want to know. [3]


[1] Source: literarydevices.net.

[2] I suggest you tell anyone you’re going to describe as “pulchritudinous” what the word means before you use it.
Source: vocabulary.com.

[3] And did he ever have a date?

1 thought on “Why do some words sound like what they mean and others don’t?”

  1. But shouldn’t there be a word for that? Disonomatopoeia or something? Or maybe something that doesn’t should like that, like upergalliocious.

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