Sublime — exaltation to insult

January 10, 2016
Sublime may be used to express exaltation, splendor grandeur.

Those are examples of ways ’tis used to express intensity or greatness beyond comprehension. Yet like romance, “sublime” ain’t always pretty.

Definitions — adjective

Via, the adjective definitions include:
1. elevated or lofty in thought, language, etc.
2. impressing the mind with a sense of grandeur or power; inspiring awe, veneration, etc.
3. supreme or outstanding.
4. complete; absolute; utter. adjective definitions include:
: very beautiful or good : causing strong feelings of admiration or wonder

: complete or extreme

All above definitions present an expression of awe, describing something that edges perception. The former definitions in each list suggest beauty, elegance, veneration. The latter may go either way, and could be used as a tool to insult.

For example via the former, your favorite poetry may be sublime, and you can only recite it in trying to share the experience.

For example via the latter, someone you know may be a sublime fool, so that your brows furl when he passes up yet another brilliant opportunity.

“Sublime” expresses intensity
Beautiful, utter, or downright grotesque, sublime expresses intensity.

A Wikipedia article that features ‘sublime’ refers to one of my favorite authors, Victor Hugo, regarding sublime.
“In [Mr. Hugo’s] preface to the play, ‘Cromwell,’ he defined the sublime as a combination of the grotesque and beautiful as opposed to the classical ideal of perfection.”

Mr. Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame character The Hunchback, for example, is sublime in his grotesqueness.

More usage:
Sublime is also a noun to suggest authority in a category. For example, you may deem your favorite songwriter the “sublime” in song lyrics.

Sublime may be used as a verb to elevate someone or something in esteem. For example you may sublime your favorite mentor by chiming accolades in his or her honor.

Sublime is not to be used lightly. ‘Tis a tool to express intensity, and may be used across realms.

How would you use Sublime to express something or someone you experienced?


This Jacquée T. Love for Words feature is brought to you by supporting sponsors, including Paola Inn & Suites in Paola, Kansas.

*** Jacquée T. selects and schedules each featured Word in the spirit of writing, reading, and of improved expression. Love for Words sponsors support her schedule and selection as a whole, and the fun spirit of this series. 

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