Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Words That Should Get a Divorce (One in an occasional series on words whose relationships have grown tired)

torrential and rain


This cliched coupling is made worse by the fact that torrent, the root of torrential, means, among other things, "a violent downpour of rain." So torrential rain basically means "heavy-rain-like rain."

I'm not saying it's wrong. It's an accepted idiom that appears in the dictionary. I just wish -- oh, how I wish -- we could find an alternative that's not so incredibly tired.

4 comments:

--Deb said...

I LOVE this series.....

--Deb
www.punctualityrules.com

June Casagrande said...

Well, that would be really good news were it not for the fact that I'm already about to run out. I guess to get some fodder I'll have to watch more (yecch) local newscasts.

Debbie said...

Perhaps the cliche could be replaced with "a rant of rain" (which I thought was original, until I googled/yahoo'd it just now and found out otherwise; but at least with 3 hits that's less than the diluvian 1,480,000 for "torrential rain")...

Linnee said...

May I nominate "safe haven?"

(Had to fight the urge to put the quotation marks before the question mark.)

Loved your book, btw. I'm a true grammar geek.

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