Reader's Digest

A Cur of a Word

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Curmudgeon is one of those great words that sound like what they mean. It feels satisfying­ly self-describing: an obstinate chunk of letters that don’t so much roll out of the mouth as make harsh demands of it. Cur … like a mongrel, Diogenes’s dog, Diogenes himself. Mud … silty and earthy and sort of gross. Geon … like a bludgeon or a truncheon, bullyingly wielded. As a word, curmudgeon is utterly curmudgeon­ly.

john semley, in hater: on the virtues of utter disagreeab­ility

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