English Is A Great Big Pain In The Seat #socs

So, I was going through all the words I could think of that end in -eat, and I realized that there’s one word that doesn’t rhyme with any of the others: great. And I tried to think of a word that rhymed with great that ended in -eat, and I couldn’t think of one. I even checked a rhyming dictionary, and none of the words that rhyme with great end in -eat.

Heat, meat, beat, seat, peat, treat, bleat, neat, feat, cheat, cleat, pleat, and wheat all rhyme with each other, but great doesn’t. If it did, it’d sound like greet. But great and greet are two different parts of speech, and mean different things. Great sounds like grate, but again, they’re different parts of speech, and their meanings are different. Maybe the Grand Poobahs of the English language decided to spell it differently because of this.

Why didn’t they spell it greight, then? I mean, it rhymes with eight, and weight, and Haight, as in Haight-Ashbury.

While I’m at it, compleat and complete are the same word, pronounced the same and with the same meaning. Why two spellings? One looks cooler than the other? I had a friend that pronounced the former “cahm-plee-aht.” Is that how it’s supposed to be pronounced? Why would you say it that way, anyway? I mean, it’s “cum-pleet” versus “cahm-plee-aht.” One’s two syllables, the other’s three.

I’m sure someone with a background in etymology will leave a comment, explain the whole thing, and make me feel like an idiot. See, I’m supposed to know things like that, because I took three years of Latin and two of Greek in high school because my mother told me to. “It’ll help you with English!” she claimed. What did she think I had been speaking for the first fourteen years of my life? Finnish? The only people who speak Latin nowadays are either celibate or dead. And the Greek? It wasn’t like the kind of Greek they speak nowadays. Nooooo…. It was Homeric Greek. The kind the blind storyteller used to speak.

A bust of the blind storyteller himself, at the British Museum. Public domain, thanks to JW1805 at Wikipedia.


This silly rant has been brought to you by Linda Hill, who runs this little old blog hop. Visit her for the rules and the list of other participants.

8 thoughts on “English Is A Great Big Pain In The Seat #socs

  1. They say English is the hardest language to learn for exactly the reasons you state. Some things just make no sense whatsoever! I can totally see why English would confuse the heck out of people trying to learn it!
    Michele at Angels Bark


    1. I know the Chicago Tribune tried years ago to simplify spellings (e.g. thru for through, thoro for thorough, etc.) but it never caught on. Might have made things a little simpler.


  2. If it makes you feel any better I don’t remember ever seeing compleat.
    I took Latin because I wanted to be a doctor and I thought it would help me with medical terms. All it really helped me with was making friends in Latin club. English is really one of the strangest languages, at least according to people who know more than one. I love what you did with this prompt!


  3. Because, of course, English as she is now “spoke” is a hodge podge of many languages. Saxon, Roman, Danish, Celtic and French to name a few plus borrowed words from Greek (symphony comes to mind). So nobody planned the language although Americans have been doing a lot to change it. I always maintain Americans do NOT speak English.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. American English is probably best described as a dialect of English, kind of like Spanish in Mexico is different from Spanish in Spain (Mexican mixes in a lot of aboriginal words from the Aztecs and other native American tribes).


Comments are closed.