Saturday, May 16, 2009

Word Tidbits: Uncouth

Some words fall out of favor and become archaic simply because they make you sound uncouth. Couth is not one such word. No one uses couth, regardless of how those around them act. When you compliment someone on how couth they behave, it sounds as though you are so socially backward as the be uncouth.

That's because couth never attained “word” status. The Old English word “cuth”, which meant known or familiar, spawned the now-defunct use of uncouth as uncommon or uncanny, essentially unknown. The word has grown to mean clumsy, unpolished, and crude of manner. It now indicates a person to whom social graces and civilized behavior are unknown. Spammers show just how uncouth they've become when they post unrelated links on every site they visit.

The next time you're tempted to tell someone how couth they're behaving, do yourself a favor and use “cool” instead. To do otherwise would be uncouth. On that note, I'd like to apologize to you, my dear readers, for my uncouth lack of posts this past month. I've been neglecting you for the glitzy world of music blogging, which I find inexcusable. I promise another one for next week, a “versus” post requested by one of you lovely folks.