Speak a Little Louder Please

Travel with me back in time in Greek Mythology to the Trojan war. As a herald for the Greek, Stentor had a voice as powerful as fifty voices of other men.  (I wonder if he ever got hoarse from all of his powerful heralding . . .) He died after he was defeated by Hermes (who was a great messenger of the gods) in a shouting contest.

From this incident in mythology, we get the word stentorian.  From this little bit of background history, can you figure out what stentorian might mean?

If you guessed a meaning about loudness, you would be correct.  Stentorian [sten-tawr-ee-uhn] is an adjective that means very loud or powerful in sound. 

When I think of this word, I envision a white-haired gentleman, dressed in a blue business suit, speaking loudly and powerfully in front of an audience. And pounding on the podium to emphasize his words. The gentleman’s speaking is stentorian.

Other things could be stentorian besides voices.  An orchestra or a choir could be stentorian (powerful in sound) during a performance.  A spaceship blasting off could be stentorian to those in close proximity.  A cannon’s blast during a Civil War re-enactment is very stentorian — especially if you are standing right by it at the time it goes off.  (Voice of experience, here.)

If your children are running around the house and yelling at the tops of their lungs, request that they stop being stentorian.  They might become puzzled by this word and stop long enough to go to dictionary.com to look up the definition and cease being stentorian in the process!  I certainly would hope so . . .

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Posted in New Words. Comments Off on Speak a Little Louder Please
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