Friday, April 21, 2006

How About 'Gloomful'?

James Lileks contemplates the need to find a different word to describe a gloomy day:
Gloomy today. And there’s a word that needs rethinking; since the “-y” makes something seem silly and trivial nowadays, it detracts from the power of the thing it’s describing. Gloomorous, then.

The sun just came out, so strike that.

No, there it goes again. That’s always a strange thing to see on a gloomorous afternoon; the sun suddenly illuminates everything in glory and warmth, then steals away. Like sitting in North Korea watching State TV and suddenly the Seoul channel pushes through for a few seconds. Color! Food! Commerce! Then it’s back to 15,000 youngsters doing a synchronized ballet to commemorate the invention of the polio vaccine by the Great Leader.
That's gloomy!

The picture to the right really does portray a gloomy, gloomful, gloomorous day, doesn't it? Click on the pic to see where it came from; it's part of a collection of good photographs from Penn State and environs.

Hey, maybe that should lead us to a new word for gloomy: "It was a nittany day." Nah! It ends in "-y."

By the way, ever wondered where the "nittany" in Penn State Nittany Lions comes from? One web site says:
The word "Nittany" seems to have been derived from a Native American term meaning "single mountain." (Since a number of Algonquian-speaking tribes inhabited central Pennsylvania, the term can’t be traced to one single group.) These inhabitants applied this description to the mountain that separates Penns Valley and Nittany Valley, overlooking what is today the community of State College and Penn State’s University Park campus. The first white settlers in the 1700s apparently adopted this term, or a corruption of it, when they named that mountain, i.e., Mount Nittany or Nittany Mountain. Thus by the time Penn State admitted its first students in 1859, the word "Nittany" was already in use.
So, they're the Penn State Single Mountain Lions? Maybe there's a market for a feline

Be that as it may, the Penn State football team certainly handed Ohio State Buckeye fans a nittany, I mean, a gloomorous, day last fall.

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