Word count: 241 words
Reading time: About 1 minute
Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: cudgel.
I have to confess: I’ve never been a Star Trek fan. (Nor a Lord of the Rings fan, either, I admit.) Fantasy leaves me disinterested rather than excited or engaged. Call it a character flaw, if you like.
That said, I’ll happily read well-written reviews of just about any book or movie. And this is what took me to Anthony Lane’s May 20/13 New Yorker critique of Star Trek Into Darkness — a movie that would otherwise be hard-pressed to generate even a yawn from me.
Here is the sentence that gave me my word-of-the-week:
Star Trek Into Darkness, directed by J.J. Abrams, is a great cudgel of a movie, set to stun.
Of course I already knew that a cudgel is a short, thick stick used as a weapon. (See photo, above.) But I wanted to explore the etymology of the word. To my (untrained) eye, it had a strong hint of the Anglo-Saxon about it. I was curious: where did cudgel come from?