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Question of the Day

1 watcher
Aug 2017
2:47pm, 30 Aug 2017
7223 posts
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GordonG
A colleague has just pointed out to me that sometimes we’re overwhelmed and sometimes we’re underwhelmed, but when things are OK why do we never say we’re whelmed? And what is the right level of whelm anyway?
Aug 2017
2:49pm, 30 Aug 2017
45263 posts
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swittle
We need a -whelm- continuum, perhaps.
Aug 2017
2:55pm, 30 Aug 2017
7920 posts
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lammo
whelm-ometer
Aug 2017
3:02pm, 30 Aug 2017
45264 posts
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swittle
Ye! :)
Aug 2017
4:10pm, 30 Aug 2017
13161 posts
  • 0
mulbs
whelm
verb
[with object]archaic

1Engulf, submerge, or bury.

‘a swimmer whelmed in a raging storm’

1.1no object Well up or flow.

‘the brook whelmed up from its source’
Aug 2017
4:35pm, 30 Aug 2017
27272 posts
  • 0
HappyG(rrr)
So "underwhelmed" is a bit contrived then? I know what it comes to mean, but does it come simply from someone being clever and inventing it as the opposite of over-whelmed (deliberately hyphenated, by the way) or was there a concept of insufficient whelming (as per mulbs's definition above) and the word under-whelmed evolved logically?

We need to know. :-) G

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Maintained by GordonG
A colleague has just pointed out to me that sometimes we’re overwhelmed and sometimes we’re unde...

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whelm whelmed underwhelmed whelming verb under swimmer submerge storm source sometimes
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