I would like to know whether I’m using gush and blast correctly in the following sentence:

I felt as if I had accidentally opened a fire hydrant and let a gush of water blasting out uncontrollably.

Whereas in Spanish, my mother tongue, there’s only one word to describe a powerful flow of water (chorro), in English there are many:

jet, squirt, spirt, stream, blast, gush, effluent

So, I’m a bit confused.

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    I don't like it much. Better would be "let a blast of water gush out uncontrollably", but I'd probably prefer a torrent of water anyway. – FumbleFingers Apr 9 '13 at 13:07
  • Surge would also do well as the verb in that sentence. And I think I prefer rush to gush, for what it's worth. – user13141 Apr 9 '13 at 13:27
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    Referring to the flow from a fire hydrant as uncontrollable is incorrect and should not be done if you intend to write something believable. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Apr 9 '13 at 15:37
  • @jwpat7 Thanks for the suggestion. I guess the sentence is better off without that adverb. – janoChen Apr 9 '13 at 15:54
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    I’m actually not sure that chorro has no synonyms in Spanish. Certainly there are related words like corriente, torrente, géiser, cascada, salto. There are also figurative words like ducha, reguero, regato, or even diluvio, along with derived terms like chorretada, chorrada, chorreo, chorreón. But probably the Spanish Language & Usage StackExchange site would be better for this. – tchrist Apr 9 '13 at 16:49

Both gush and blast work fine as nouns or verbs. Your sentence is perfectly fine as it stands.

Personally, I wouldn’t use blast in either position here. I feel as though blast may be better suited for air or sound than for liquid.

  • 2
    Blast works for liquids, too, but it has more to do with the Force (F=ma) of the exit, and its results in the form of damage. Since the most common form of blast is a chemical explosive, that takes care of air and sound; it's less frequent with liquids but it's OK. Gush implies strong output pressure and steady output, but it's not explosive and need make no noise. It's also pretty narrowly restricted to liquids, except possibly in submarine or space-travel contexts, where gases are always contained. – John Lawler Apr 9 '13 at 17:21
  • Eloquently put. – samuelesque Apr 9 '13 at 17:35
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    The meaning of blast is coherent with the phonosemantics of BL- words. – John Lawler Apr 9 '13 at 17:43
  • @JohnLawler, a minor point: perhaps bleat should have checkmark 3 like blab or perhaps 1 & 3 like blat. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Apr 9 '13 at 17:51
  • Quite possibly. Those are my judgements and I usually err in a conservative direction -- if in doubt, don't. I was interested in clear cases only, to set a bottom limit on how complex the phenomenon has to be. It turned out to be a very high bottom limit. Plus, there's a considerable amount of individual variation in something so non-lexical. – John Lawler Apr 9 '13 at 19:38

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