Phrase of the Night

Cellar Door:

Phonaesthetics is the claim or study of inherent pleasantness or beauty (euphony) or unpleasantness (cacophony) of the sound of certain linguistic utterances. Poetry is often considered euphonic, as is well-crafted literary prose. Important phonaesthetic devices of poetry are rhyme, assonance and alliteration. Closely related to euphony and cacophony is the concept of consonance and dissonance.

The phrase cellar door has some notoriety as the reputedly most euphonic sound combination of the English language (specifically, when spoken with a British accent).

9 Comments

  1. I always thought that the expression is a cunning ruse by the originator to express their love of cheap, bulk booze.

    Coincidentally, I fully endorse this declaration.

  2. I think it may roughly correspond to the Monty Python distinction between “woody” and “tinny” words – if anyone among the distinguished readership remembers the skit in question?

  3. I’ve never bought into the ‘cellar door’ fetishism. If that phrase is euphonic, then it may be because it sounds Latinate.

    The idea that there is a specifically British accent is completely unfounded; ever heard a Scot speak? Or a native of Wales? Or someone from Ulster?
    And, in England, accents change every mile or so.

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