I’ve been in love with words as far back as I can remember. When I was a wee little itty bitty girl (hard to imagine me ever being itty bitty!), I regularly crawled over to a bookshelf in our back room and ran my fingers over the books. I remember looking at the words before I was able to read them, and wishing I could. I remember practicing writing when my older brothers were at school, and being so proud of the loopy squiggles I made with my pencil crayon. I guess that with this early fascination, it’s no surprise that I grew up needing – not just wanting -- to be a writer.
There are approximately 6,500 languages spoken in the world today. The most widely-spoken language is Mandarin Chinese. The most commonly-spoken languages after that, in order of rank, are: Spanish, English, Arabic, Hindi, Bengali, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, and German.
What does this have to do with fat, you ask? Well, I started thinking: With all these languages, how many different words are there for the word “fat”? Not only that, but how many different words are there for variations of the word fat, such as plump, chubby, voluptuous, etc.? You’ve got to figure that with all the languages in the world, there must be literally thousands of different variations of the word “fat”.
Since I’m an English speaker, and I’m assuming that the majority of you reading this are English speakers, I’m going to focus on English variations of the word “fat”. Let’s examine the definitions (according to the Merriam Webster and
dictionaries) and see how they range and differ: Oxford
FAT – Plump, fleshy; Oily, greasy; well filled out; BIG; well stocked; ABUNDANT; richly rewarding
FAT – Natural oily or greasy substance found esp. in animal bodies; part of meat etc. containing this; corpulent; plump; containing much fat. Fertile. A thick [fat] book. A substantial [fat] cheque.
I love the word “abundant” in the Merriam Webster definition. The
Now let’s move on to some euphemisms or synonyms for the word “fat”:
PLUMP – having a full rounded usu. pleasing form; fleshy, stout, roly-poly, rotund.
PLUMP – full or rounded in shape; fleshy.
CHUBBY – PLUMP.
CHUBBY – plump and rounded.
VOLUPTUOUS – giving sensual gratification; given to or spent in enjoyment of luxury or pleasure; luxurious, epicurean, sensuous.
VOLUPTUOUS – of, tending to, occupied with, or derived from, sensuous or sensual pleasure; (of a woman) curvaceous and sexually desirable.
ROLY POLY – rotund.
ROLY POLY – pudding made of a rolled strip of suet pastry covered with jam etc. and boiled or baked; podgy, plump.
ROTUND – rounded out; plump, chubby, portly, stout.
ROTUND – plump, podgy.
OBESE – excessively fat; corpulent, fleshy, gross, overweight, portly, stout.
OBESE – very fat.
OVERWEIGHT – weight above what is required or allowed; bodily weight greater than normal.
OVERWEIGHT – above an allowed or suitable weight; excess weight; preponderance.
I also took out my handy dandy Webster’s Thesaurus and looked up synonyms for the word “fat”:
abdominous, adipose, affluent, beefy, blowzy, corupulent, cushy, elephantine, fatling, fatty, fertile, fleshed, fleshy, flourishing, fozy, fruitful, greasy, gross, heavy, jammy, lucrative, lush, obese, oily, oleaginous, overweight, paunchy, pinguid, plump, poddy, podgy, portly, pot-bellied, productive, profitable, prosperous, pudgy, remunerative, rich, roly-poly, rotund, round, solid, squab, stout, suety, thriving, tubbish, tubby, well-upholstered.
Anyway, I’m sure you get my point here. There are many, many different interpretations of the word “fat”. Let’s not forget PHAT, the modern term for something that is totally cool and awesome.
Some of the definitions have a negative connotation, but for the most part, I was surprised to note that most of them have a positive connotation, an indication of something promising, flourishing, growing, overflowing. The word “fertile” even showed up a couple of times. I love the word “fertile”, it’s a beautiful word:
FERTILE – producing plentifully; PRODUCTIVE (soils) (a mind); capable of
developing or reproducing; (seed) (a bull) fruitful, prolific, fecund, productive. [Merriam Webster]
How do you define yourself? Are you fat? Or are you PHAT?
I don’t know about you, but “voluptuous” works for me!