Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Word Choice Wednesday: Jangle


Merriam-Webster says:
a: to cause to sound harshly or inharmoniously b: to excite to tense irritation

It also defines it as: to utter or sound in a discordant, babbling, or chattering way. Which goes along with a above, but I can't say I've heard it used in that context often.

This is a solid five cent word. 

More specific than:
Ring and other noise-related verbs. There's a distinctly bouncy element to jangle, maybe because it's similar to jingle. Jingle can be pretty annoying too, mostly when they start playing Christmas music in August.

I mention other synonyms in the next part, but here are some more vague irritant-related verbs: annoy, discomfit, unsettle. They're mild and general, good for covering non-specific disruptions. Discomfit is oddly formal and unusual -- seven or eight cent word?

Word relationships:
For a, bouncier than ring, more irritating than jingle, and harsher/terser/tenser than sound. I'd use it when something happens again, to emphasize irritation: The doorbell jangled again.

For b, I see someone who's been jangled as more active than one who's worried. Pacing, fidgeting, maybe sweating. Irritated can be physically active too, but I think it covers a broader range of emotional states. Jangled seems pretty specific to me.

What comes to your mind? Do you associate it with bells, or with nerves?

1 comment:

Huntress said...

But that is first impression.

If I used it for bells or chimes, it would indicate a harsh, unmelodic sound, maybe as a counterpoint to the action.

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