Whelmed

Two of my pet peeves are the words “irregardless” and “orientate”. Why people don’t find the words “regardless” and “orient” sufficient is beyond me. Irregardless wasn’t even considered an official word until quite recently. Then, to my dismay, it slowly started creeping into dictionaries one by one. (Probably because the keepers of dictionaries were getting tired of arguing about it.)

So you can use these words, and you’ll be right. But why? Why make things more complicated, more syllabic, than they have to be? Life is too short, people. Less is more.

I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by the foolishness of it all, and then the word “overwhelmed” slapped me right across the face. In order to be overwhelmed, you must first be capable of being whelmed, right? So I looked it up.

whelm

verb

archaic literary

past tense: whelmed; past participle: whelmed

  1. engulf, submerge, or bury (someone or something).

“a swimmer whelmed in a raging storm”

Okay, so whelm is considered archaic. But why? WHY??? If it means engulf, submerge or bury, if you’re overwhelmed, you’re even more engulfed, more submerged or more buried. How is that even possible?

WHAT IS THE POINT??? Gaaaaaaaah!

I’m feeling whelmed.

whelmed

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7 thoughts on “Whelmed

  1. I hate “irregardless” too. But read Kory Stamper’s book Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries. She devotes an entire chapter to it. That’s where I recently learned that “ravel” and “unravel” mean the same thing…

    1. Oh jeez, I don’t think I should read that book. It sounds like it would just thrust even more nettles under my saddle. Here’s another one. There’s no singular for smithereens. How can we have multiples of something that doesn’t exist in the singular? It makes my head hurt.

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