Dangerous Nonsense

In the Czech lessons I’ve been working on this week, some interesting words have come that I thought I’d share with you.

One word is smsyl [smɪsl̩], which means sense, purpose, meaning, effect, intent, and I just like its sound. It is used in the following sentences:

Nemá smysl poslouchat jeho nesmysl
It makes no sense to listen to his nonsense

Jaký to má smysl?
What’s the point?

Related words and expressions include:

  • smysl bytí = raison d’etre, reason or justification for existence
  • smysl pro humor = sense of humour
  • smysl pro věc = flair
  • smyslnost = sensuality, lust, voluptuousness, sensuousness
  • smyslná = voluptuous
  • smyslná žádost = lust
  • smyslný = sexy, erotic, sensuous
  • smyslový = sensitive, sensory, sensual
  • smysluplnost = meaningfulness
  • smysluplný= meaningful
  • nesmsyl = nonsense
  • nesmyslný = stupid, absurd, pointless
  • nesmsylnost = absurdity, nonsense
  • nesmysly = nonsense, rubbish, mumbo-jumbo

Another word is nebezpečný [ˈnɛbɛspɛt͡ʃniː], which means dangerous, hazardous, unsafe, reckless. It is a compound of ne (not), bez (without), péče (care) and the suffix -ný, which is equivalent to -ly in English. So you could translate it as “not-without-care-ly”.

Related words and expressions include:

  • nebezpečnost = dangerousness, hazardousness
  • nebezpečí = danger, risk, peril
  • bezpečný = secure, sure, save
  • bezpečnost = safety, security
  • péče = care, attention

Sources: bab.la, Wiktionary and Wikislovník

5 thoughts on “Dangerous Nonsense

  1. Interesting …. surely, “not-without-care-ly”, a double-negative, would mean “with care”, “carefully”, rather than “dangerous, hazardous, unsafe, reckless”. Any thoughts?

  2. @Shenn:
    I suppose this “care” carries the meaning of “caution, watchfulness”, as in “take care”, so it’s more like “not-without-caution-ly”.

  3. @Shenn @Charlie
    The adjective is also found in my native Polish. And yes, the original meaning of “bezpieczny” was ‘free from care, unworried’, which drifted with time to the modern sense of ‘safe, secure’. The evolution of “niebezpieczny” ran in parallel, from ‘worrisome’ to ‘dangerous’.

  4. The title of your blog reminded me of a quotation from Star Trek The Next Generation, season 1, “Where No One Has Gone Before”:

    Wesley Crusher: Is Mr. Kosinski like he sounds, a joke?

    The Traveler: No that’s too cruel. He has sensed some small part of this.

    Wesley Crusher: That space and time and thought aren’t the separate things they appear to be? I just thought the formula you were using said something like that.

    The Traveler: Boy don’t ever say that again – especially not at your age – in a world that’s not ready for such – such dangerous nonsense.

  5. P.S.
    I forgot to mention that this “-ly” is not the “-ly” in “carefully” that is used to derive an adverb from an adjective, but the adjective suffix “-ly”, as in “kingly”, “womanly”, which are similar to “king-ish”, “woman-ish”, cf. German “gelb-lich” (yellow-ish), “süß-lich” (sweet-ish). That is to say “nebezpečný” means something along the lines of “not without-caution-ish”.

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