"cellar door"

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Fri Feb 19 05:52:08 UTC 2010

On Feb 18, 2010, at 9:39 PM, Geoff Nunberg wrote:

> David Cecil related a similar story in his 1965 biography of Beerbohm:
> One day [Max Beerbohm] said to [Robert] Hichens, "Do you think,
> Crotchet, that a word can be beautiful, just one word?"
> "Yes," Hichens said, "I can think of several words that seem to me
> beautiful."
> "Ah?"
> A pause.
> "Then tell me, do you think the word 'ermine' is a beautiful word?"
> "Yes," Hichens said, I like the sound of it very much."
> "Ah?"
> Another pause.
> "And do you think 'vermin' is a beautiful word?"

Jacobson: "the murmuring of innumerable bees" vs. "the murdering of
innumerable beeves".


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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