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For Rugby fans and language lovers – “plethora” and “pilloried” and “torpid”

If you love words and learning more about words – I encourage you to enjoy Rugby Union and take note of the words used.


boys and balls

I’m a Rugby-loving (League and Union) word nerd. I work with words in my job – and I love “studying” Union commentary and analysis.

Gordon Bray

I find Union commentary and analysis shows a robust and confident love of language

Union writers and commentators seem to use words you won’t often hear in other sports coverage.

Expressions such as:

That was a torpid interpretation by the referee.

Piled on a plethora of points.

The All blacks have been pilloried by the NZ media.

Now, I know basically what the words mean – but I find I am often encouraged to “dig deeper” into where the words come from.

If words interest you too – here’s a bit more about the words pilloried, plethora and torpid.


To Pillory means more than “to criticize”.

It means to attack publicly (and often savagely) and comes from an actual device
(a pillory) where people would be held by their head and/or hands in a public place so they could be punished and humiliated.


Plethora – means an abundance and comes from the Greek language.

It is often used with other words starting with P and it’s often used to show off the impressive vocabulary of the user.

It’s an “unusual” word that stands out. If YOU use it – be sure you know what it means! (as you’ll see in the video link below).

A Rugby-loving mate will often use plethora in conversation – making comical reference to the comedy The Three Amigos – when the bandit leader shows his superior intellect when asking if there is a plethora on pinatas!

Take a look here –


Torpid comes from Latin torpidus, from torpēre to be sluggish or numb or lazy or slothful. It doesn’t mean stupid or tepid.

Some Union fans may be pilloried for using a plethora of impressive words – but at least they are not torpid.


word nerd CU

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These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication, better social media engagement etc. I like to help people COPE.



One comment on “For Rugby fans and language lovers – “plethora” and “pilloried” and “torpid”

  1. efangelist
    July 17, 2015

    Reblogged this on efangelist.

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