May 10, 2007


Stentorian blooms:
like so many trumpets

sten·to·ri·an adj. [sten-tawr-ee-uhn, -tohr-]
very loud or powerful in sound: a stentorian voice.
[Origin: 1595–1605; Stentor + -ian]
sten·to·ri·an·ly, adv.

From Unabridged

"of powerful voice," 1605,
from Stentor, legendary Gk. herald in the Trojan War, whose voice (described in the "Iliad") was as loud as 50 men.

[His name is from Gk. stenein "groan, moan." Also there is the O.E. element of þunor, "thunder."]

Fr. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001 Douglas Harper
IN USE, from the NYT:

After Mr.[Don] Imus's [racially and sexually demeaning] comments about the mostly black Rutgers [women's basketball] team, the hosts on two prominently black stations in New York—WQHT (97.1 FM) and WBLS (107.5)—have made references on their programs to the need to police themselves, and their callers, better.

"Itchin" Home of the
"Miss Jones Show"

Tarsha Nicole Jones, who as "Miss Jones" is host of a show on WQHT that reaches nearly 700,000 listeners a week, has taken to using "wenches" and "iches" as substitutes for harsher words, and she repremanded a caller on Monday for using a common racial slur twice.
Later the show ran a stentorian public service announcement that said, "Due to new regulations regarding the use of language, the 'Miss Jones Show' has made the appropriate adjustment."

—"Shock Radio Shrugs at Imus's Fall, And Roughs Up the Usual Victims," Jacques Steinberg, The New York Times National, Sunday, 6, 2007, 1 and 22.


Besides delivering the needed denotation of "a loud, powerful voice," stentorian brings two bonus felicities.

The first is that stentorian denotes a voice—"a loud, authoritative, spoken voice, talking of important matters"—but at bottom a voice, one of many that comprise the essence of talk radio. The word's a perfect fit.

The second felicity is that the word stentorian, a bookish word, condignly meets the expectations of the publisher and its audience. Readers of the
New York Times, the national newspaper of the intellectually elite, expect as a matter of course the apt use of precise words, words which often carry an academic cache, to be employed within its pages.



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