Daily Archives: January 27, 2011


Ah, the excesses up to which one may occasionally get in the course of assorted verbal frolicks – to be of a disposition to expatiate at great length, whether loquaciously or merely garrulously, whether in sesquipedalian mode or frankly monosyllabically, but regardless of the contextual details to prolong one’s side of a dialogue simply for the relish of speaking or of being heard or both, add verbal licks one upon the other, avec ou sans prologue, practically ad infinitum… to be, that is to say, prolix. For why use one word when 59 will do? Nor need you be a pro; an amateur may still be pro (for) LIX (59).

The word prolix is ironically short, though it does come with an abundance of related forms: prolixious, prolixity, prolixively, prolixly, prolixness, prolixous, and prolixt. And it rolls off the tongue so nicely, prolix, opening with a stop at the lips, then rolling through liquids to end with /ks/, so the tongue  touches its different positions, and with one back and one front vowel to boot. The x of course gives it that extra eye-catch, though one may find it reminiscent of a mouth that was formerly open o but at the last is not just shut but puckered shut x – or are those the eyes of the listeners?

To me, it also seems like an ideal name for an Asterix character – perhaps some tedious, garrulous sort who goes on at far too great length (unsurprisingly, there is a character named Prolix in one Asterix book – he’s the soothsayer in Asterix and the Soothsayer. Of course, he’s Gaulish, with the ix – another irony, since, like most of the fake Gaulish names in the Asterix books, prolix is from a Roman word: prolixus).

But it may have a little taste, too, of sex, not just in sex but in minx, dominatrix, and perhaps one or two other words. But that is no more than a taste; the tongue is too engaged in talking to pause for play. Ah, too prolix for frolicks! Lo, being talkative has its prix.