Thursday, January 29, 2009

Potential Swearwords

There are 26x26x26x26 (456976) potential swearwords. To be honest, there is no necessity to employ these words in an expletive manner and, in spite of their obvious utility, we use relatively few. Of the massive number available, barely seven thousand appear in the OED. A great shame. The people of our blessed lands struggle to spell efficiently and leaving all these simple, short and potentially descriptive words unused is quite wasteful of a readily available resource.
There are those within the whole set which are, frankly, useless. Where all the letters are identical or the final combination is a complete tongue-twister we would be forced to consign it to the scrapheap. In truth, around 30% might never be successful orally/aurally.
But there remains a massive number of combinations where there is no current meaning and the difficulty involved in spelling vanishes. A few moments staring at the QWERTY keyboard conjures up thousands. Not one of the variations I created (mentally) in the previous ten minutes is in common use.
So, if you are edging towards inventing a concatenated Greco-Roman-derived lexical behemoth to describe a newly discovered -phobia or the latest -ism go for the short, pithy option instead.
You would be praised at Dimly Lit Corner.

Allergy advice: No words matching the title description are included in the piece above.

1 comment:

GC said...

Referring to your earlier post, if you want to ''reprogramme your Tom Tom at 60mph'' that's your business. But I would suggest that you dress more appropriately before you travel.

Ooops! I forgot. THATS your business.

Regarding the logic of this post, I don't fully understand why there are 26x26x26x26 potential swearwords. I am sure you will enlighten me...

p.s. Check your blog's (blogs) title. It has an apostrophe in it.

p.p.s. A ten letter word which supposedly shortens words! Almost as good as 'abbreviation'.