A word that sounds like, say, an arrow suddenly shot into a post in a crowded inn, but signifies something more like the crush of people mobbing to see what’s up – or to get out of the way. There certainly can be something thrusting or throbbing about a thr onset with a back vowel – or imposing, as in throne. The nasality of the ong may add a resonance or ongoing vibration, on the other hand (as in gong and song). Taste for yourself: what is the difference between mob and throng? Do you find mob muddy, heavy, thick, dumbly belligerent? And do you find throng massive, energized, aggressive? And do you perhaps get a more southern European sense from mob? You may not, but if you do, you at least have the track on the origins: mob comes from Latin mobile, from which it is shortened. The th starting throng should be a giveaway as to its origin: few are the languages from which English gets words with that sound, and comparatively few are the modern languages that use it – about the closest one to English nowadays is Icelandic, and it writes this sound with a thorn (þ). As did English, once upon a time, and this word began with one. But this word also began as a verb, as it still is often used – but before the verb throng, meaning “crowd” or, in an now obsolete sense, “press violently,” was the verb thring (and yet how different, how much thinner or finer or lighter, perhaps, does thring feel!). And thring also meant – means, for its use is attested in the last century or so – about the same thing. Its past tense and past participle were formed by ablaut: thring, thrang, thrung. Thrang became a verb of its own, as sometimes has happened – a past-tense form of a verb is used as a causative verb in the present tense: if you make a tree fall, you fell it. And the vowel ultimately moved slightly to make it throng. And does the throng move? Well, it may; it may also be found cheering; it may be a throng of reporters or a media throng; one may expect it to be huge… These are some words that have been seen in the company of this word somewhat frequently. And of course a throng of others.
Be a patron!Support Sesquiotica and get extra premium content and goodies. Starts as low as $1 a month! Find out more and subscribe on Patreon.com
I am for hireI earn my living as an independent editor, writer, and educator. Find out more and contact me at jamesharbeck.com.
Buy the T-shirt (or coffee mug or hip flask)
Wear it proudly:
I operate on a NEED-TO-KNOW basis. I need to know EVERYTHING.
Buy it at cafepress.ca/sesquiphernalia
12 Gifts for Writers ebook – free download
Buy my books
Buy my books on Lulu.com:
- Confessions of a Word Lush (paperback)
- Confessions of a Word Lush (ebook)
- Songs of Love and Grammar (paperback)
- Songs of Love and Grammar (ebook)
- 12 Gifts for Writers (print edition)
You can also get them on Amazon.com. Please note that I make less than half as much per book if you buy them there, however.
Word Tasting Notes Google groupGet just the word tasting notes daily by email – join the Google Word Tasting Notes group.
- turn the other cheek
- 365 words for drunk
- confident in or about?
- An article title, "An article title 'An article title needs commas' needs commas," needs commas
- Can a metaphor be hyperbole too?
- around, about, approximately
- To be, or not to be, that is the question
- I plight thee my troth
- If I were using the subjunctive...
- Coffice Space
- from the bookshelf
- language and linguistics
- new old words
- Poetry Minute and a Half
- pronunciation tips
- sentence tastings
- The Week
- Word Country
- word pictures
- word portraits
- word reviews
- word sommelier
- word tasting notes