A pungent, acrid, not altogether pleasing word. A blend of two parts, the second of which has three morphemes, lends it a complexity of structure. The voiced velar [g] of the beginning becomes a double bloodless, voiceless [k] in the latter parts. Further contrast comes from the apparent intrinsic contradiction of its constituents: agro, which brings in the air of hay and corn, the great plains but also the greeny hedged fields of England, and chemical, which fills the eyes and nose with industrial miasma and the sharp, baleful, purple and green fumes of household cleaners and major evacuations. The bucolic nature of the agro is subtly undermined by the hint of aggravation that is compounded by proximity with the chemical. The whole brings us an image of environmental unfriendliness that belies the ubiquitous necessity of its referent. A new word, a child of the postwar era, made with ancient Greek parts, the chem- of which retains the tang of the Arabic soil in which it sprouted.

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