Sunday, October 31, 2010

your oyster

Isn’t it funny how the words super and superb are so close to each other orthographically, and very close in meaning, and yet one is considered completely plebian while the other is a lofty, almost snobbish choice?

Super: 1) of a high grade or quality; 2) very large or powerful.
Superb: 1) marked to the highest degree by grandeur, excellence, brilliance or competence.

It’s almost as if back in 1842, someone who couldn’t handle consonant clusters just downgraded superb to super, stripping away the oomph.

Super, in fact, rings somewhat old-fashioned. I don’t know too many people who use it alone anymore, although it shows up in superpower, supersonic and superelastic bubbleplastic.

What if people upped the ante by replacing super with superb?

Imagine if “Puttin’ on the Ritz” were superb-duper, and Clark Kent turned into Superbman. It would take something finer than kryptonite to cripple him.


ron hardy said...

Maybe in the not too distant future if languages began to seriously bleed into each other we'll have uberb.

wv: sylazesp. I feel like I should touch my nose or walk in a straight line. Or read the third line...

Kathleen said...

"Words are my life. There are words to which I lift my hat if I see them sitting on a page."

(I am Emily Dickinson for Halloween.)

SarahJane said...

love that quote. hope your costume was convincing!

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