Thursday, November 12, 2009

Here's Our New Wrinkle! (Vocab. #8)

I expect this happens in many languages, but I only know English well enough to notice: words in English that sound similar often have similar meanings.

It is not safe, however, to assume that two similar sounding words share a common meaning. For example, ‘pimple’ and ‘dimple’ sound a lot alike, but if you tried to guess the meaning of the first from your knowledge of the second, you’d most likely lead yourself astray.

So, Cormac McCarthy writes: “Clamberin over those old caved and rimpled plates you could see well enough how things had gone in that place,…” And I hesitate over the unfamiliar ‘rimpled.’

Since it sounds a lot like ‘rumpled,’ you might guess it means the same thing – wrinkled, crinkled, crumpled or creased. Puckered and rippled.

And in this case, you would be correct!

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