conch

A word with a hollow resonance, perhaps like the sound of the blowing of the eponymous shell, but cut off abruptly at the end, like the horns of the cars you hear on the road on your way, say, to Arawak Cay in Nassau to eat some of the eponymous mollusk (which, for its part, is chewy almost like octopus). Many who have passed their lives far from the West Indies may think that this word rhymes with craunch and haunch (or, for some Canadians, gonch, i.e., an undergarment which craunches the haunches), but to residents of the Cays and Keys (who often take this name on themselves) such a sound may be found distinctly off-key. This word is a cousin of wad and chance in that it is often a consort to blow – but it is much less lexically promiscuous than the others; its other companions are more limited and include shell, mainly, and fritters if you’re in the Bahamas. Another kind of blow – to the head – may be suggested by the pronunciation with [k] final. The visual form of the word does not spiral, but it does have two curls and a ring. And for the Romans, such concavity would have been sufficient, since in Latin it simply meant a mussel or cockle or a shell-like cavity.

2 responses to “conch

  1. Pingback: conclave | Sesquiotica

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