clangor

The not-so-common word clangor exists in Spanish and English because both languages borrowed it directly from Latin. The similarly uncommon Latin noun had been based on the stem of the verb clangere, which the Romans had created to imitate the action it represented, namely ‘to clang, to sound.’

Spanish uses clangor for ‘the sound of a trumpet or bugle,’ while the English clangor means ‘a clanging; a racket, a din.’ Notice that the first part of the English definition is circular because it assumes you know what the related clang means. Short, consonant-heavy words like that are usually native English, but in this case English appears to have formed clang from Latin clangere. As far as I can tell, Spanish doesn’t have a verb that’s a descendant of clangere but if it ever creates one we’ll certainly raise a clangor to mark the event.

Speaking of events, it occurred to me that the city of Bangor, Maine, might well have held some sort of festival called The Clangor in Bangor. An Internet search failed to turn anything up, however, so the folks on the Bangor City Council might want to get cracking.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Playamart - Zeebra Designs
    Apr 05, 2017 @ 16:50:44

    Yes, they should follow through with your idea of ‘Clangor in Bangor’ – surely it would be a fun event! Perhaps they might make you the honorary marshall of their first event!

    Reply

  2. shoreacres
    Apr 05, 2017 @ 18:26:55

    My first thought was of a two-part Venn diagram. One one side would be people who remember Judy Garland. On the other side would be people who have ridden a trolley. Where the two circles overlap, we’d have a very small subset of people who still remember the lyrics to this song.

    Reply

    • Steve Schwartzman
      Apr 05, 2017 @ 19:20:57

      You’ll find me in the intersection of those two circles. That said, I hadn’t thought about the trolley song when I put this post together. A clang should have resounded in my head.

      Reply

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©2011–2016 Steven Schwartzman
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