Today’s rabbit hole – seek, beseech, besee. Oh, OED, I love thee. I think this is a high word. Remember that years ago I thought I could separate high words from low?? and that every example I could think of had both high and low uses? Well, this word is used infrequently enough that our non-robust first glance says that it is a high word…

• 1.073 To seek the pale enchanted gold.
• 3.015 O! What are you seeking,
• 5.090 searching and seeking
• 9.053 Seek the sunlight and the day,
• 11.014 they found what they were seeking.
• 12.064 seeking for him
• 12.072 and where are his kin that dare seek revenge?
• 14.014 seeking only to set their town ablaze.
• 17.048 seeking for the foe.


This has always struck me as a very biblical/epic word.  I’m giving it the “high” tag even though I have rather given up on the “high” tag.

  • 12.032 till the dawn chilled his wrath
  • 12.034 and stirring up Smaug’s wrath so soon.
  • 12.102 This was the outburst of his wrath
  • 14.013 the dragon’s wrath blazed to its height,
  • 14.035 and wrath on those unhappy creatures?
  • 17.010 and his voice was thick with wrath.
  • 17.050 so deadly was the wrath of the hands that held them.
  • 18.022 in his wrath.
  • 18.024 and his wrath was redoubled,


Genius.  A giant tom-cat.  A dragon.  The most dangerous creature in the world.  With one word, we see the absolute confidence of the dragon, the completely athletic competence and grace.  With the same word, the father takes a tiny bit of the sting of fear out of the tale.  Yet we hear the rumble of the furnace.

  • 12.011 mixed with a rumble as of a gigantic tom-cat purring.


I think we have danger and adventure.  There’s something biblical and epic-proportioned about “gnash”.

  • 04.033 and all his soldiers gnashed their teeth, clashed their shields,
  • 04.034 “Slash them! Beat them! Bite them! Gnash them!
  • 06.082 and gnashed their teeth;

“gnash, v.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 29 May 2015.

“† gnast, v.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 29 May 2015.


Again, it depends on what is whistling.  The sound-play words are intensifiers, not valences.

  • 01.092 like the whistle of an engine coming out of a tunnel.
  • 02.002 Bilbo began to whistle loudly
  • 05.112 a whistling
  • 05.143 Whistles blew,
  • 07.030 and when I call or whistle begin to come after me –
  • 07.051 So Gandalf gave a long shrill whistle,
  • 07.061 They don’t seem all to have come when I whistled.
  • 07.062 Go on, whistle again!
  • 07.063 Gandalf whistled again;
  • 07.100 its whistling voices were released.
  • 12.022 in fierce whistling steam,
  • 14.040 Above the borders of the Forest there was whistling,
  • 17.039 and arrows whistled;

“whistle, v.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 29 May 2015.