English Vocabulary

awe and aw

awe-some refers to awe
hand-some to hand?
What does that "some" mean?
And finally: what is that aw awful is referring to? (perhaps remaining from an early Anglo-Saxon language system?)

I for one learn better by using some mnemonic devices.


  • As a suffix -some has different functions.
    According to my dictionary
    1. -some, suffix of an adjective, means charaterized by a quality (awesome), state (burdensome) or action (cuddlesome).
    2. -some, suffix of a noun, means group, number of so many members, usually persons, as in "foursome". As GGusers reading this tip we are a foursome.(me and three copies of myself).

    As you put it, handsome seems to come from hand + some, near to handy (convenient for use). The first meaning of handsome was easy to handle, easy to manipulate, but the word has shifted along through years so as to allow me to call you, Gwendo, a handsome person. (Even though I couldn't manipulate you at all.)
  • Come to think of it as I read back your headline,
    AW is an interjection only.
    AWE is a noun or a verb.
    (this note just for rookies, not for the handsome Gwendo.)
  • Hooray to Gee and to his dictionary! My big one knows no some being a suffix. What wonderful kind of dictionary did you consult, Gee?

    Always seriously fun!
  • In this specific case, I looked up in a paper Merriam-Webster. I guess you could look up in any other on line and find out the same explanations.

    On line I am used to look up at first in the Answers.com. Following your remark, I have just switched to http://www.answers.com/topic/some-1
    Do it and you'll find out a third use of suffix -some coming from Greek 'soma' (body) used in the medical field.
  • Great, but I prefer the four-some, the four Wise Men ans Women at GG
  • Wise men and women at the GG? A foursome? I thought you were the one and only.
  • Fun at midnight. That's what you wrote some days before:

    a foursome: You and three copies of yourself. TGIS
  • Sorry, I forgot you had alter egos.
  • What is an alter ego, please?

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