Quench is the loveliest word, don’t you think? My shampoo bottle instructs me that this delightfully sudsy and emollient brew will quench my dry hair and scalp, bringing occasion to stop and think about this word: quench. Say it aloud – doesn’t it sound just like what it means? Dictionary.com tells us quench synonyms are, slake, allay, and satisfy (as in thirst, or desire); to quell or suppress (as in rebellion). You see it used often by the press when a wildfire is quenched or extinguished. Quench can also mean “to cool quickly by immersing in liquid” as when steel is tempered by being plunged into water.
It happens every so often: a word I rarely notice will strike me as worth examining. This exercise reminds me of a weekly assignment from ninth grade English, known as Word Wealth Words of the Week. Mrs. Driscoll assigned ten words each week for which we were required to draw a picture portraying the meaning of the word, as well as use the word in a sentence. I certainly spent more time on Word Wealth than on algebra or history, because words are fascinating. My crude drawings were more like crayon stick figures than art, but I enjoyed choosing the perfect shades of cornflower, nude, blue green, or burnt umber from the box of 64 Crayola crayons. Somehow this assignment felt like an important task and I completed it with great satisfaction every week.
Quench. To me it sounds like a tall cool glass filled with crushed ice and sweet tea, garnished with a lemon slice and sprig of mint.
Let’s play this again sometime. What’s your favorite word?