Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Do I say "quenched my thirst" or "stilled my thirst" when I speak of something that I desire and not actual thirst? E.g. a thirst for a new car or something.

share|improve this question
1  
Look around a bit on the web and the answer is easy to find. Then let us know what you found. –  Kris Mar 3 '13 at 12:37
1  
I attended Wagner's Parsifal yesterday. Despite its five hour plus running time, my thirst for opera was not quenched. –  GEdgar Mar 3 '13 at 13:32
    
Yes - I feel thirst is a metaphor that sits with 'nobler desires' (opera) or the outlandish (blood) better than with more mundane desires (a new car). –  Edwin Ashworth Mar 3 '13 at 14:38
    
Although one's thirst for excitement might be sated for a bit with the acquisition of a new sports car. –  Jim Mar 3 '13 at 22:57
1  
You might find our sister-site, English Language Learners, might be a better fit for these sorts of questions. –  tchrist Mar 3 '13 at 23:35

1 Answer 1

Thirsts are always quenched or slaked, never stilled or silenced, even if they are metaphorical.

In contrast, desires, like beating hearts, are never quenched or slaked, but may be killed or calmed or assuaged. And they may, perhaps, be stilled or quelled.

You are perhaps more apt to appease desires than thirsts.

share|improve this answer
    
I think one can certainly slake a desire. In fact, every online dictionary I checked includes the word "desire" when defining slake. –  Marcus_33 Mar 4 '13 at 15:10

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.