Tag Archives: figurative language

Not very nice

Because it has been years since I have had any formal study, I’ve been treating myself to some self guided continuing education, including brushing up on literary terms, figures of speech and such.  I came across one yesterday that I am not sure I ever learned in the first place.

Or perhaps I blocked it from my memory. 

I am talking about the bdelygmia.

Ah, yes, you say.  The old bdelygmia.  Actually, if you watch cable news with any regularity, you could hear a commentator utter one in some form at least once a night, especially in the current political climate.

A bdelygmia (the b is silent) is a litany of abuse.  It’s been described as the perfect rant, a series of explicit insults, if you will. 

The 19th century English author and poet Edward Lear was said to have written that a “vile beastly rottenheaded foolbegotten brazenthroated pernicious piggish screaming, tearing, roaring, perplexing, splitmecrackle crashmecriggle insane ass of a woman is practicing howling below-stairs with a brute of a singingmaster so horribly, that my head is nearly off.”

As my tastes are a bit more pedestrian, I’d say my favorite bdelygmia comes from the movie Christmas Vacation, in which Clark Griswold, after being denied the Christmas bonus he was counting on, says this about his boss:  

“I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, ****less, hopeless, heartless, fat-***, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey **** he is. Hallelujah. Holy sh**.  Where’s the Tylenol?”

Perhaps you have one of your own, festering in your head or sitting in your Drafts folder, awaiting a cooling off period.  Feel free to share; just don’t aim it at anyone.


Filed under All Things Wordish, Movies, Television and Radio

As sweet as a simile in springtime

I will always remember the day in fifth grade when we learned about similes, metaphors and alliterations.  It was then that I knew I was different;  I was the only one enjoying the lesson.  I had no choice but to feign nonchalance to avoid ridicule.

Who would have imagined that day in Mrs. Sergent’s class that 40 years later there would exist, in a place called the Internet, a website of hip hop similes?  Yes, indeed.  I found it, a site described as “The best rap lyrics, hip hop similes, metaphors, clever battle raps and punchlines.”  The best.  Among all the sites for rap lyrics, hip hop similes, metaphors, clever battle raps and punchlines this one is “the best.”  Or so it claims.  Not surprisingly, it’s pretty off-color, especially to a middle aged word geek.  But I’m amused that it exists.

I’ve always enjoyed a good simile, and when I hear a good one I tuck it way for emergencies.

I once worked with a colorful Texan who used to describe being “as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.”  Others I like include:

     “busy as a cross-eyed boy at a three-ring circus”

     “hard as putting pantyhose on a porcupine”

     “happy as a pig eating pancakes”

     “quick as a nun’s kiss”

     “off like a prom dress in May”

There’s another cute one going around, “my grandma’s teeth are like stars, they come out at night.”

Do you have a favorite?


Filed under All Things Wordish, Music