Incensed and Insensed

On this perfectly lovely day I seems like the ideal moment to assert some complaints about a couple of words that drive me crazy: incensed and insensed. Yes, I know, I know, the latter is not even a word but I believe it should be as it expresses being angry with one’s mind aflutter far more succinctly than incensed. Every time I read this term I beat my head with my fist and ask, “Why? Why?”The term incensed refers to being enraged, exasperated, riled, and even infuriated. That is an enormous range of emotions for just one word. I am exasperated when the whirling beach ball zips onto my laptop screen slowing my work and sometimes freezing my effort. And while I am definitely I little annoyed, I am never furious, ready to dash this delightful piece of electronics to the floor and stomp it to bits. I am riled with anxious tenseness and flashes of frustration, but irate does not define me in the least. So I expose my first complaint about this word: it is far too wide-ranged and non-definitive.

The second grievance when it comes to “incensed” is the spelling. Studying the term “incense” which means anger and infuriation, this word also refers to the sticks and oils that one can burn to clear the air, freshen the spirit, and enliven the mind. How on earth did these two incenses combine with such diverse implications? That is where my confusion comes in as I race from enraging sentiments to calming whiffs of fragrance. I think by now you are starting to understand my drift.The other insensed which is not a word but should be is constructed in my mind by the prefix in- which means no or not and the root word “sense”. Sense indicates intelligence, wisdom, logic, and brain-power. The opposite then, “insensed”, reflects the negative: no intelligence, no wisdom, no logic, and no brain-power. Sense is transformed into a void of sagacity engulfed in myriad agitation and aggravation. And thus, as I implement my word building tools, the term insensed is what I create, red squiggly line and all.

There are many confusing terms in English that I am certain bug you as well. This just happens to be a combo that I dislike and would like to change. I realize that this will require diligent effort over a long period of time as the inertia of language slowly mutates and evolves, but I do have faith. Perhaps if I sneak “insense” into enough writing pieces pretty soon everyone will simply believe that is correct.

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