I Got Nothin’

… so I’ll just post another quote from Dorothy Sayers.

Our perfect writer is in the act of composing a work –let us call it the perfect poem. At a particular point in this creative act he selects the “right” word for a particular place in the poem. There is only one word that is “dead right” in that place for the perfect expression of the Idea. The very act of choosing that one “right” word, automatically and necessarily makes every other word in the dictionary a “wrong” word. The “wrongness” is not inherent in the words themselves –each of them may be a “right” word in another place. (Footnote: Always excepting, of course, words like “sportsdrome” and “normalcy,” which are so steeped in sin that no place is “right” for them, except Hell, or a Dictionary of Barbarisms.)

The Mind of the Maker, p. 103

Does anyone have any other candidates for this category of words?

7 thoughts on “I Got Nothin’

        1. Well, I don’t like the sound when put with “sports.”
          But, good point, the hippodrome was a place for running horses. Maybe it’s the awkward combination of a modern English word “sports” with a Greek or Latin syllable “drome.” I dunno. Or the fact that “sports” is super generic and sports don’t run, technically? Like it’s an attempt to make the building sound neoclassical, but just ends up making it sound made-up when you could just say “stadium”?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Perhaps they heeded Dorothy.

            Sometimes folks will try to make up a new word for a thing they think is new but is actually basically an update version of an already existing thing, like a stadium, and then the word doesn’t catch on. Maybe that’s what happened here. Or maybe, over in England, there is still one building that is called a “sportsdrome” but that’s it.

            Liked by 1 person

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