Daily Archives: December 24, 2008

holiday disruptions

Word tasting notes will be somewhat sporadic over the next couple of weeks, due to holidays and travel. And a happy Christmas or other celebration of your choice to you all.

torrid

A word that lends a wildness to heat. This word carries so many resonances: torture, horrid, torrent, torment perhaps, the ripping sound of tor and the twisting words that start with tortorsion, tornado, torque – plus the unpleasant words ending in rid: acrid, putrid. Ascenders at each end box in a plateau on the orr (and is the dot on the i Soundgarden’s black hole sun?). Or perhaps they’re the tropics bounding the torrid zone. The topics are often thought of as wet, however, while this word communicates a dryer heat – coming straight up from Latin torrere, “to dry with heat.” Do you wish to rid yourself of this word? You might think twice. Common collocations include romance and affair. You’ll also see it with pace and growth. Such positive uses for a word so seemingly negative! Evidently dangerous and wild heat has its value… metaphorically.