Question of the Day

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Aug 2017
2:47pm, 30 Aug 2017
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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
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swittle
We need a -whelm- continuum, perhaps.
Aug 2017
2:55pm, 30 Aug 2017
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lammo
whelm-ometer
Aug 2017
3:02pm, 30 Aug 2017
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swittle
Ye! :)
Aug 2017
4:10pm, 30 Aug 2017
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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
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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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