Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wednesday Word: Fell

fell 4adjective poetic/literaryof terrible evil or ferocity; deadly sorcerers use spells to achieve their fell ends.PHRASESin (or at) one fell swoop all at one time nothing can topple the government in one fell swoop. [ORIGIN: from Shakespeare's Macbeth ( iv. iii. 219).]

I have a confession to make: I've not till recently knew the many meanings of fell, aside from past tense of fall. I simple accepted one fell swoop as is, possibly because the expression is so wonderfully sinuous it must be right. Like a snake plunging in for the kill.


  1. Huh, wasn't aware of the "deadly" meaning - I bet it doesn't see a lot of use (except maybe in annoyingly literary books).

    1. No chance of using it in conversation, nobody would get it.

      Btw, it also means "a hill or stretch of high moorland, esp. in northern England" and "an animal's hide or skin with its hair." o.O You know...English needs to make up new words instead of using the same one for a bunch of unrelated things.