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The Mournful Sound of the Dashing Sea


  1. Having a loud mournful sound.
  2. Beating, dashing.

‘He despised small game and insignificant personalities, whether in the shape of dukes or bagmen, letting them go by like sea-weed; but show him a refined or powerful face, let him hear a plangent or a penetrating voice, fish for him with a living look in some one’s eye, a passionate gesture, a meaning and ambiguous smile and his mind was instantaneously awakened.’
The Story of a Lie (1879), Robert Louis Stevenson.

Plangent. Coming from the Latin word for ‘I beat’ or ‘I lament’. It’s a word still with us, remarkably, and a word not heard all too often. A unique word for something rather tragic, or appearing to be rather tragic, at least. A loud mournful sound. A word, perhaps, best demonstrated by example…

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