A word in sheep’s clothing

aI get a new word delivered to my inbox every day, thanks to the wonderful Wordsmith.org. Occasionally I already know them, more often I have a vague idea about them, and sometimes they’re entirely new.

Today’s was entirely new: refulgent. And it caught my eye doubly because it’s almost my surname.

Eww… but what does it mean? Repulsive? Redolent? Revolting? Stubborn? Nope. It’s an adjective, meaning shining brilliantly. So I will be off to the deed poll office in my lunch break. Cathy Refulgent has a certain ring to it.

Wordsmith says:

From Latin refulgere (to radiate light, to reflect), from re- (back) + fulgere (to shine). Ultimately from the Indo-European root bhel- (to shine or burn), which is also the source of blaze, blank, blond, bleach, blanket, and flame. Earliest documented use: before 1500.

When I tweeted this, @joelmgunter offered up the putrid-sounding pulchritude, meaning physically beautiful (that’s pulchritudinous as an adjective). Do feel free to try it out this this evening. “I hope you don’t mind me saying, but you’re looking most pulchritudinous tonight – positively refulgent.”

But watch out for bellicose reactions. Lovely though it sounds, bellicose means warlike or aggressive (Joel again).

Anyone have any other words that have a meaning that feels at odds with their sound?

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