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Dulcet

Definition: Pleasant to the ear; melodious; “pretty-sounding”; soothing in sound.

Pronunciation: dull-SET

Origin:

Français all up in this “English” word.

A beautiful amalgam of Latin’s dulcis and the French-influenced Middle English doucet (from the diminuitized form of the French term douce; which is the feminine form of doux, meaning “sweet”.)

 Why this word?

Once upon a time, I was reading a particularly snarky passage of independent fiction, and the main character’s flippant sidekick quipped this word at the current aggressor and I found myself reading the phrase it had appeared in over and over again.

Dulcet. It felt guttural enough to hint at a suggestion of insult, yet hissing against the teeth in a chopping termination at the end of the second syllable just enough to give the word an air of cultured, reserved disdain.

(Now, the definition of this word doesn’t match up with how its sapient reception registers in my mind, but the fact remains that, in said novella I was reading, the character who’d had it spat at them was a described as “a burly, hulking monolith of a man who spoke with a baritone like an upright bass.” And if there’s usually one thing of which most people can agree on, it’s of a barely-barbed dig at the base composition of a person is prime-cut humour; the same as puns and dick jokes. Venomlessly attacking A Manly Man’s masculinity is borderline benign enough to coax an amused, huffing snort out of most anyone.)

 How do you use dulcet in a sentence?

Example: “Roberto leaned his chair backwards to balance on its two back legs, knees caught and braced underneath the edge of the table, and watched with an expression of mild amusement as Dean stumbled on shaky hungover legs; one of his wide, meaty hands looked like it was trying to wrap itself around the entire front of his skull.

‘Well, good morning, sunshine!’ Roberto trilled, dropping his chair back onto all fours with a loud thunk that echoed sharply in the tiled kitchen. “I thought I heard your dulcet tones moaning near the toilet bowl a few minutes ago.”

Dean flinched at the noise, and then immediately groaned at himself, head throbbing in reply to the motion. He sat himself down gingerly in a free chair and tried to quietly will his post-binging headache– and the walking headache incarnate currently grinning at him across the table –away.”

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Written by Veronica Jacobs

Veronica Jacobs is a fiction writer, blogger, academic editor, and sci-fi enthusiast. Currently working freelance (with a background in English Literature), she spends most of her time writing.

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