Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-01-2009, 01:56 PM
tdn tdn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 35,871
Adjectives that modify only one noun?

Most adjectives can modify a large number of nouns -- big house, big deal, big dog, etc. I was thinking about the adjective/adverb ajar. Looking it up, it can actually apply to just about anything that can be opened, but I've only heard it to describe the state of a door. Have you ever described a window as ajar? How about your fly? A jar of pickles?

This made me wonder if there are any adjectives or adverbs that modify a sole noun or verb. Can you think of any?
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 12-01-2009, 02:22 PM
Onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: 小浜国
Posts: 6,447
Qwerty?
  #3  
Old 12-01-2009, 02:34 PM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Near the GT eeehhhh...
Posts: 27,315
I think I'm glad that GM did not design clothing during the 1980s:

*bing bing bing* Your fly is ajar.
*bing bing bing* Your fly is ajar. Please close your fly.
  #4  
Old 12-01-2009, 02:54 PM
Johnny Angel Johnny Angel is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 4,519
A window can also be ajar.
But as far as I know, only a gate can be 'lych'.
Only deeds are ever described as 'derring.'
Only a spoon is ever 'runcible', though that's kind of cheating since the word was made up by Edward Lear to describe a spoon with short tines one one end -- ridiculous!
  #5  
Old 12-01-2009, 02:57 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: SEC
Posts: 13,686
While not specifically adjectives or adverbs, here is one list of words that are typically tied to another word, although theoretically they don't have to.
  #6  
Old 12-01-2009, 02:58 PM
Least Original User Name Ever Least Original User Name Ever is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Posts: 18,199
I tried to use the word "impregnate" in Honors English in high school to describe someone getting surgical enhancements and the students thought i was special for doing so.
  #7  
Old 12-01-2009, 02:59 PM
Sir T-Cups Sir T-Cups is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 7,257
I just halfway realized this with "monger".

It really only is used with "War" or "rumor".
  #8  
Old 12-01-2009, 03:02 PM
whole bean whole bean is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 2,556
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir T-Cups View Post
I just halfway realized this with "monger".

It really only is used with "War" or "rumor".
or fish, or fear, or hate, or whore
  #9  
Old 12-01-2009, 03:03 PM
The Devil's Grandmother The Devil's Grandmother is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: California's SF bay area
Posts: 4,792
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir T-Cups View Post
I just halfway realized this with "monger".

It really only is used with "War" or "rumor".
and fish-sellers.

Spry is only ever used to describe old people, and disgruntled is only used to describe workers.
  #10  
Old 12-01-2009, 03:50 PM
Slypork Slypork is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,137
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Devil's Grandmother View Post
and fish-sellers.

Spry is only ever used to describe old people, and disgruntled is only used to describe workers.
Yeah, but can a worker ever be gruntled?
  #11  
Old 12-01-2009, 03:53 PM
bup bup is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: glenview,il,usa
Posts: 11,905
Articulate is only used to describe clean black people.
  #12  
Old 12-01-2009, 04:03 PM
Wash Wash is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 172
Points seem to be the only things that are ever moot.
  #13  
Old 12-01-2009, 04:09 PM
Onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: 小浜国
Posts: 6,447
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wash View Post
Points seem to be the only things that are ever moot.
except for moot court, moot argument, etc...
  #14  
Old 12-01-2009, 04:17 PM
Kingspades Kingspades is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Candler Park, Atlanta, GA
Posts: 428
I can't recall ever hearing anything other than iron being described as wrought.
  #15  
Old 12-01-2009, 04:25 PM
jjimm jjimm is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 28,701
I have never seen anything rood other than a screen.

ETA: the only construction I've ever seen that uses the word kangaroo as an adjective (or adjectival subsitute?) is "kangaroo court".

Last edited by jjimm; 12-01-2009 at 04:26 PM.
  #16  
Old 12-01-2009, 04:41 PM
whole bean whole bean is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 2,556
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingspades View Post
I can't recall ever hearing anything other than iron being described as wrought.
::nevermind::

Last edited by whole bean; 12-01-2009 at 04:42 PM.
  #17  
Old 12-01-2009, 04:44 PM
whole bean whole bean is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 2,556
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjimm View Post
I have never seen anything rood other than a screen.

ETA: the only construction I've ever seen that uses the word kangaroo as an adjective (or adjectival subsitute?) is "kangaroo court".
both the Gore-Lieberman and Bush Cheney tickets were described as a kangaroo ticket meaning stronger second halves.
  #18  
Old 12-01-2009, 04:46 PM
Ponch8 Ponch8 is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 4,625
"Dampened" always seems to go with spirits. Alternatively, anytime it rains during some outdoor event, the rain DOESN'T dampen anyone's spirits. Rain can dampen a lot of things, but one thing it never dampens is spirits.
  #19  
Old 12-01-2009, 08:43 PM
jasonh300 jasonh300 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: New Orleans, La.
Posts: 1,666
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ponch8 View Post
"Dampened" always seems to go with spirits. Alternatively, anytime it rains during some outdoor event, the rain DOESN'T dampen anyone's spirits. Rain can dampen a lot of things, but one thing it never dampens is spirits.
'Dampen spirits' would mean 'cause sadness' wouldn't it?

Dampen means to stifle, smother, deaden, suppress.

So the rain could dampen the ground as well as dampen your spirits.

You can also dampen the sounds of a piano with the damper pedal.
  #20  
Old 12-01-2009, 09:07 PM
Cunctator Cunctator is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Posts: 11,386
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Devil's Grandmother
and disgruntled is only used to describe workers.
And voters.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjimm View Post
I have never seen anything rood other than a screen.
Rood mass; rood guild.
  #21  
Old 12-01-2009, 09:19 PM
Arcite Arcite is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Earth
Posts: 946
Is anything other than a swoop ever described as fell?
  #22  
Old 12-01-2009, 09:32 PM
Sloane Cabot Sloane Cabot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 14
slithering snake
  #23  
Old 12-01-2009, 09:33 PM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Near the GT eeehhhh...
Posts: 27,315
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcite View Post
Is anything other than a swoop ever described as fell?
Yes, if you read Tolkien: "And the Dark Lord took it, and nursed it with fell meats, until it grew beyond the measure of all other things that fly; and he gave it to his servant to be his steed." (Return of the King, chapter 6; p115 in my edition.)

Last edited by Sunspace; 12-01-2009 at 09:33 PM.
  #24  
Old 12-01-2009, 09:55 PM
Trepa Mayfield Trepa Mayfield is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 4,231
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Devil's Grandmother View Post
Spry is only ever used to describe old people
Or by old people, as in That's a spry young lad!.

The only things that are fraught are danger and fear, even though it's just the past tense (or something) of freight.
  #25  
Old 12-01-2009, 10:36 PM
notfrommensa notfrommensa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 11,441
I thought of run amok. I never heard anything walking amok, or jumping amok.

Earl Snake's link has "amok" listed.
  #26  
Old 12-02-2009, 12:46 AM
runcible spoon runcible spoon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Hither and yon
Posts: 1,089
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel View Post
A window can also be ajar.
But as far as I know, only a gate can be 'lych'.
Only deeds are ever described as 'derring.'
Only a spoon is ever 'runcible', though that's kind of cheating since the word was made up by Edward Lear to describe a spoon with short tines one one end -- ridiculous!
Do can also be derring! As for runcible spoons.... well, the less said on that ridiculous subject, the better.
  #27  
Old 12-02-2009, 01:35 AM
kaylasdad99 kaylasdad99 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Anaheim, CA
Posts: 27,695
Only thing I've ever understood to be "boggled" is a mind.
  #28  
Old 12-02-2009, 02:15 AM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 6,610
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel View Post
A window can also be ajar.
But as far as I know, only a gate can be 'lych'.
Only deeds are ever described as 'derring.'
Only a spoon is ever 'runcible', though that's kind of cheating since the word was made up by Edward Lear to describe a spoon with short tines one one end -- ridiculous!
Kind of like a spork, then?
  #29  
Old 12-02-2009, 03:21 AM
brujaja brujaja is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: the front of beyond
Posts: 3,998
"nictitating?" (membrane)

"twang?" (bar)

"pinking?" (shears)
  #30  
Old 12-02-2009, 06:12 AM
Sefton Sefton is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Stalag 17
Posts: 1,187
"runcible" is only used to describe a spoon, but I'm not sure that's what you're looking for.
  #31  
Old 12-02-2009, 09:44 AM
Tom Scud Tom Scud is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 9,084
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel View Post
Only a spoon is ever 'runcible', though that's kind of cheating since the word was made up by Edward Lear to describe a spoon with short tines one one end -- ridiculous!
He has many friends, lay men and clerical,
Old Foss is the name of his cat;
His body is perfectly spherical,
He weareth a runcible hat.

- Edward Lear, The Self-Portrait of the Laureate of Nonsense

(see also)

Last edited by Tom Scud; 12-02-2009 at 09:45 AM.
  #32  
Old 12-02-2009, 01:56 PM
Spectralist Spectralist is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: B.C.
Posts: 476
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcite View Post
Is anything other than a swoop ever described as fell?
It's often used in fantasy themed video games to describe something evil or demonic.
  #33  
Old 12-02-2009, 02:39 PM
cjepson cjepson is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,303
AFAIK, toves are the only things that are slithy.
  #34  
Old 12-02-2009, 07:22 PM
Serenata67 Serenata67 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Titletown, USA
Posts: 3,038
Quote:
Originally Posted by whole bean View Post
or fish, or fear, or hate, or whore
Fiddler on the Roof actually has a role for the "fishmonger" Love it.

I haven't heard of anything being "girded" other than loins.

In contemporary usage "vestal" only refers to virgins... though, I assume it could refer to anything pertaining to Vesta. But since she's de mode, she's not used to refer to much of anything, except her famous virgins.

Finally, I think "zoot" only modifies "suit." But I could be wrong...


(I've always been a fan of the word "petard," though I know it's a noun and isn't totally relevant here... but I love that rarely used word.)
  #35  
Old 06-07-2016, 12:30 PM
CommanderCool CommanderCool is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 1
I've been looking for a list of these "one-trick" adjectives for a long time now. Here's what I've got:

Prodigal
Foregone
Extenuating
Fine-tooth
Ulterior
Pyrrhic
  #36  
Old 06-07-2016, 12:37 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 14,189
Breath is pretty much the only thing that is bated anymore. Only tides are neap. Is anything immemorial but time? If you're going to wreak something, odds are it's havoc.
  #37  
Old 06-07-2016, 12:39 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 36,838
Quote:
Originally Posted by CommanderCool View Post
I've been looking for a list of these "one-trick" adjectives for a long time now. Here's what I've got:

Prodigal
Foregone
Extenuating
Fine-tooth
Ulterior
Pyrrhic
Prodigal spending
Foregone earnings
Extenuating conditions
Fine-tooth saw
Ulterior purposes

You got me on "Pyrrhic," but "Pyrrhic victory" is essentially a fixed phrase.
  #38  
Old 06-07-2016, 12:52 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 41,170
If you know your English prosidy and scansion, there's "pyrrhic foot" for two unaccented syllables. So for something like iambic pentameter, you'll definitely find iambic feet, of course, but almost always some trochaic and pyrrhic feet, along with some spondees. There is also "pyrrhic meter" in Classic Greek poetry.

Last edited by pulykamell; 06-07-2016 at 12:56 PM.
  #39  
Old 06-07-2016, 01:34 PM
Dendarii Dame Dendarii Dame is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 10,938
How about "inclement" with "weather"?
  #40  
Old 06-07-2016, 01:57 PM
Biffster Biffster is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,185
Riddled with bullets
(Not an adjective I know, but they go so well together)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  #41  
Old 06-07-2016, 02:01 PM
Biffster Biffster is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,185
Bodacious ta-ta's


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  #42  
Old 06-07-2016, 03:12 PM
Kamino Neko Kamino Neko is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Alternate 230
Posts: 14,401
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Prodigal spending
Foregone earnings
Extenuating conditions
Fine-tooth saw
Ulterior purposes

You got me on "Pyrrhic," but "Pyrrhic victory" is essentially a fixed phrase.
There's the Pyrrhic War (during which the original Pyrrhic Victory happened).
  #43  
Old 06-07-2016, 03:23 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Saint Paul
Posts: 26,155
I've only ever heard arms described as akimbo.
  #44  
Old 06-07-2016, 03:29 PM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Medford, MA
Posts: 21,205
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biffster View Post
Riddled with bullets
(Not an adjective I know, but they go so well together)
"I remember my body; flabby, pasty-skinned, riddled with phlebitis. A good Republican body! God, I loved it."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zGAfEpXQrw
  #45  
Old 06-07-2016, 03:32 PM
gnoitall gnoitall is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,981
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
I've only ever heard arms described as akimbo.
Guns akimbo: dual-wielding handguns or other single-hand firearms. A recent usage, coined in video gaming in the '90s, so not really good English. But it's present in the culture, so it counts IMHO.
  #46  
Old 06-07-2016, 03:33 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 36,838
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dendarii Dame View Post
How about "inclement" with "weather"?
Inclement conditions
Inclement days
Inclement region
Inclement winds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Biffster View Post
Riddled with bullets
(Not an adjective I know, but they go so well together)
Riddled with holes
Riddled with anxiety
Riddled with disease
  #47  
Old 06-07-2016, 03:34 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 36,997
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
I've only ever heard arms described as akimbo.
Legs can also be akimbo -- somehow.
  #48  
Old 06-07-2016, 03:35 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 36,838
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
I've only ever heard arms described as akimbo.
Legs can also be akimbo, but that's usually a joke.
  #49  
Old 06-07-2016, 03:46 PM
kunilou kunilou is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 22,009
Quote:
Originally Posted by bup View Post
Articulate is only used to describe clean black people.
It's also used for a long bus with an accordian section in the middle. As a matter of fact, a bus can be "fully articulated."
  #50  
Old 06-07-2016, 03:55 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 14,188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Legs can also be akimbo, but that's usually a joke.
The (late? lamented?) comic strip The Circus of P. T. Bimbo had a scantily-clad female character named Legs Akimbo.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:40 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017