I was in the kitchen when I heard Anthony Mason, on CBS This Morning, say a music group played “vibronic pop.”
I thought, why isn’t it “vibratic”? I understand why it might be “symphonic.” But neither music nor anything else “vibrons.” It vibrates.
The reason words often don’t make sense is that they are usually formed whimsically. The first person who ever said “fantabulous” was undoubtedly kidding around, and the people who heard it repeated it, not because it was clever but rather because it was garish. “Fantastic” + “fabulous” = “fantabulous.” Hahahahaha.
And, to quote Jackie Gleason, “Awaaay we goooo.”
How weird it is to combine “horrible” and “terrific” at all, let alone into “horrific”? Acceptance grows as readily from absurdity as sense.
The workers who build the language we speak are as likely to be gag writers as scientists. Thus does the language require a sense of humor to make sense. They’re not ordinary people. They’re “extraordinary.” For a while, they were merely “extra-ordinary,” but over time, that was too silly to be taken seriously, so it formalized into extraordinary. The English even say it “ex-TRORD-nuh-ree.”
Everyone has words he (or she) hates and words he loves, and sometimes he thinks about a word he has been saying for years, decades even, and realizes it has always been stupid. Some never think about words, so, fortunately, their stupidity is blissful. No good can come from thinking. It might lead a man (or woman) to use fewer words, and that is contrary to twenty-first-century thinking.
To love words is also to hate them.