"ing" went the strings of my heart

For reasons that I cannot now reconstruct, I was thinking about the phrase “a daunting task.” “Daunt” is a verb that really only appears in adjectival form (so it’s not a gerund, which is an “-ing” version of a verb that functions as a noun). You don’t say “Whoa baby, that task really daunts me!” (I guess you might say “I was really daunted by that task” – seems unlikely, though.)

What are some other verbs that you only see used in the “ing” form?

I can’t think of any “ing” words right now, but there are a few words that are only “complete” with prefixes/suffixes.

I’ve been overwhelmed and underwhelmed, but I don’t believe I’ve ever just been whelmed.

I’ve heard “daunted” used, but rarely. But I’ve also heard undaunted and dauntless.

I can’t think of any “ing” words, either.


I’d love to harrow somebody, but I haave no idea how.

You might enjoy Merriam-Webster’s take on daunt and whelm.

Another fun thing along these lines is to figure out what you should have done before in such cases as:


I seem to recall such a thread some time ago.

Hm, good point.

Okay, let’s make it “words that have verb roots that only appear in adjectival forms.”

This would include KnitWit’s “whelm.”

Harrow, bup!

A harrow is a farm tool that breaks up the surface of the ground, so I guess a harrowing experience is like being run over by a harrow.

I’ve seen ‘whelm’ used by itself: ‘a small spring where the water whelmed up and filled the pool’.

“We shall grapple with the ineffable, and see if we may not eff it after all.” — Douglas Adams in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

I guess vaunt can be used as a verb, but I only ever hear vaunted, and used as an adjective.

Classic! Thanks so much for the laugh.

Apparently, whelm means the same thing as overwhelm. Interesting. Kind of like regardless and irregardless. And…err…gardless?

That’s a different case in that irregardless is probably the bastard child of regardless and irrespective; it’s not intended to mean something separate from those words. I’ve only heard whelm used in an ironic way.

Nah, that would be like a fast-moving, high-scoring forward on the basketball court.

Incorrigible apparently comes from an adjective I’ve never heard, corrigible, meaning correctable, which in turn comes from the middle-English verb corrige, to correct.

Indubitably, it does. “Dubitably,” however…

Draggled. One can be bedraggled, but never draggled. Also, gruntled, kempt and ept.


Heh. Good one.

Since zombie status begins at six months in this forum, and since Things it’s better to do right the first time had its 24 Replies and 406 Views starting 08-03-2005, 01:45 PM, I’ll just mention it. If this is not the thread to continue it, maybe somebody else will see fit to start another.

Has anyone ever swashbuckled?