Words intrigue me. The twenty-six letters that my son and I sing form an infinite number of combinations. These combinations make words. Words that cause pain, words that uplift, words that encourage, words that affirm, words that terrify. In the midst of these countless words, I have found a few that just don’t sound pleasant. Their pronunciations are in direct opposition to their original meanings, and quite frankly, it bothers me.
- Stupendous. A word that is used positively, to compliment something extremely impressive. However, the word sounds much like “stupid” - a negative word implying a lack of knowledge and/or common sense.
- Hospitable. A word that means friendly and welcoming. Yet, when I hear that word I think of “hospitals,” and “spit” neither one usually associated with being very friendly and welcoming.
- Cyclical. While this word has mathematical definitions, it also means occurring in cycles or repeating regularly. However, when I hear this word I think “Sickle Cell.”
- Smock. Generally, this word refers to an apron or covering one wears to protect the clothes underneath. Except, I hear “smock” and automatically think “smack.” So while a smock could be helpful and something one would seek out, a smack is not.
- Uranus. This poor planet. I’ve heard two alternate pronunciations of this word, neither one very flattering. One sounds like “your anus” while the other sounds like “urine-is,” neither one a mental image I need.
My Dear Readers, I’m curious if you’ve got any words you’d add to the list. Feel free to include them in your comments!