Monday, March 24, 2014

"Mor" and More, or why my villain is not likely to be named Mr. Fluffykins.

Happy Monday!


Literary names associated with villainy, darkness, evil.  All sharing the syllable 'mor.'  Why does this syllable keep popping up in the baddies' names, and why does it immediately indicate to us "Hey, this is the villain of the story."?

'Mor' is an example of a phonestheme: a part of a word that carries a connotation not because of etymology or formal definition but just by association.

So although the 'mor' syllable buried in the names may sound similar to the latin root 'mor' (death) - root to such dark words as morbid, morgue, and mortgage (literally "death pledge"), it does not specifically reference that root.  However, it references our familiarity and impressions of the root, lending atmosphere and weight to the literary bad-guy names.

Probably not a villain

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