I subscribe to Merriam-Webster’s word of the day, and the word for Sunday was ‘whelmed.’

whelmed: verb

1) to cover or engulf completely with usually disastrous effect
2) to overcome in thought or feeling : overwhelm
3) to pass or go over something so as to bury or submerge it


I immediately thought of Ten Things I Hate About You, which is one of my favorite movies.

(It’s based on The Taming of the Shrew, only a little less hateful towards women as the original Shakespeare. And set in high school, dealing with dating instead of marriage.)

Bianca is the younger sister, pretty and popular. Kat’s the older sister, who hates nearly everyone, and refuses to date–so their father makes it a condition that Bianca can’t date unless Kat does. Bianca is shallow, and the movie makes fun of her for it, just as it points out that Kat’s rage is a bit much.

One particular scene that shows the ‘deep’ thoughts of Bianca and her friend Chastity:

Chastity: I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?

Bianca: I think you can in Europe.

But she was right. You can be whelmed!

Have you ever had a word or phrase that’s so tied to something (book, movie, t.v. show, song, etc.) in your mind that you can’t separate one from the other?

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

6 responses »

  1. Marcia says:

    Several, as a matter of fact, but the one that comes to mind the most frequently is “plethora,” as used in Three Amigos. It is still one of the funniest scenes, ever, in my mind, as El Jefe questions a minion who has just told him about all the pinatas he has put up for El Jefe’s impending birthday party.

    El Jefe: Would you say you have a plethora of pinatas?
    Minion: A wha…???
    El Jefe: A plethora.
    Minion, after a hesitation: Oh, si! Si, we have a plethora of pinatas!
    El Jefe: Do you even know what a plethora IS?
    Minion looks guilty.
    El Jefe: Because I wouldn’t want to think that you have told me we have a plethora of pinatas, and you don’t even know what a plethora is…………………
    Minions looks scared.

    That’s not word for word, but that’s how the scene goes, and it was done to perfection. And while I use the word plethora a LOT, just because I like the sound of it, I always think of Three Amigos and El Jefe’s birthday party when I do. And the whole memory whelms me.*grin*

  2. The moment I saw the title of your post I thought of 10 Things I Hate About You. God, I love that movie!

  3. Haha, I’m a little older than you, and I associate that word with that movie :).

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