But big is not a big word. In fact, it’s just the opposite: it’s a very small word. And monosyllabic is definitely not monosyllabic. It’s polysyllabic.
Some words seem to fit their meanings better than others. Take, for example, pugnacious. Pugnacious sounds … well, pugnacious. If you saw a pugnacious coming down the street, I think you’d try to stay out of its way. Pugnacious just sounds ‘quarrelsome’ and ‘belligerent’.
Rambunctious is another word that sounds as if it means what it says – ‘exuberant’ or ‘unruly’. But does pulchritudinous sound pulchritudinous? Pulchritudinous can sometimes be a very useful word, but does it sound ‘beautiful’? Hmm … probably not.
Earlier today, I heard a chap on the radio speaking – appreciatively – of having received ‘a fulsome apology’. I can only assume that he was unaware of the fact that, strictly speaking, fulsome has quite a negative connotation. The dictionary definition is ‘disgusting by excess of flattery; excessive’. If the chap really did think that he had received an apology that was disgusting by its excess of flattery, I don’t think that he would have sounded quite so appreciative. I think he might even have sounded a little crestfallen.
Crestfallen (‘dejected’ or ‘dispirited’), now there’s a word that definitely looks and sounds crestfallen.