Certain words: enough

Enough is a startling word, for at least two reasons. First, it has that unpredictable grouping of letters, ough. How many ways can that set be pronounced? Through, ought, slough (of despond, more than the casting off of something), dough–no wonder those seeking to learn English as a second language are traumatized.

But enough is a crazy-maker in another way. It knocks on the door of your comfortable life and bursts in with an attitude. You thought you were doing OK, and then you heard something, saw something. Something more–and so adios, contentment.

Enough doesn’t fit comfortably in the consumer’s vocabulary. It’s not part of the lexicon used by advertisers and promoters, either. On the other hand, it is a word that sits at a table where friends gather for soup and bread on a winter’s night, or in the trunk of a car passed down by a relative. The effort of a team that played its heart out and came in second, the fumblings of a kid in love, geraniums–all enough. Enough is the laid back cousin of excellence; it keeps satisfaction from devolving into gluttony. In fact, enough is that off-ramp a half mile before all the ‘deadly’ sins, and a passel of other vices, too.

2 thoughts on “Certain words: enough

  1. Ah! It’s a word that’s been sticking with me ever since my grappling with “sufficient” a couple of months back.

    I picture us doing some sort of grueling, demanding, exhausting, and monotonous labor of a job, take digging an enormous ditch for example. The boss finally comes over and says, “That’s enough.”

    And we all breathe a sigh of relief in unison, bodies instantly relaxing…The word we had all been waiting for…

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