Monday, March 16, 2009

Cellar Door

I'm sure that most of you have heard about this idea (following text borrowed from Wikipedia because I was too lazy to write it out myself):


Cellar door is a combination of words in the English language once characterized by J. R. R. Tolkien to have an especially beautiful sound. In his 1955 essay "English and Welsh", commenting on his affection for the Welsh language, Tolkien wrote:



"Most English-speaking people...will admit that cellar door is 'beautiful', especially if dissociated from its sense (and from its spelling). More beautiful than, say, sky, and far more beautiful than beautiful. Well then, in Welsh for me cellar doors are extraordinarily frequent, and moving to the higher dimension, the words in which there is pleasure in the contemplation of the association of form and sense are abundant."


I recently decided that if Cellar Door is the most phonetically pleasing word compound in the English language, then it is my job (part-time, no pay) to find the least mellifluous.


Here are the front-runners so far:

  • Snack Cup

  • Pizza Bread

  • Monosodium Glutamate

  • Ann Coulter

  • Vulture Bee (I admit, I got that one from a Wiki random article)

  • Lactation Consultant

  • Tax Preparer

Okay, so maybe, just maybe, I am not truly separating the sound of the words from their meanings (Ann Coulter, Tax Preparer) and have corrupted the whole idea of this project. You get the idea though.

I want to hear some of your ideas on what YOU think is the most phonetically displeasing phrase in English. Lay it on me. I want to know!

8 comments:

Laoch of Chicago said...

Pizza bread! So hungry now.

jenny said...

moist napkin

SOMETHING HAPPENED SOMEWHERE TURNING said...

I'm not sure I get it. But I'll give it a shot.

Dumb Ass

Gastric Reflux

Assessment Risk

Gabrielle Solis(Souless)

Investment Fraud

Stimulus Package
(actually this one could work both ways)

mary evelyn said...

lactose intolerant.

i'm not even sure i spelled that correctly. that's just how i think it sounds :o)

minerva1822 said...

Nutty Buddy :)
just because I'm pregnant and it sounds so good right now :D

leighmo said...

Anal Leakage.

It makes me cringe just hearing it outloud...ugghhh.

Autism Mom said...

What's wrong with snack cup? I prefer it over feeding trough.

How about anal fistula? That sounds more painful and yucky than leakage...

*mary* said...

I like all your submissions. My problem is separating the sound the words make from their meanings. Having said that- have you noticed that most of these, like "anal leakage" and "dumb ass" have negative connotations but also sound displeasing, phonetically. Hmmm.

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