Can we use "too-much" as a noun? (Shouldn't it be "too-much-ness?) Then, does "of its own too-much" mean "because of being too much" in the following context?

Since then I have lived to see state after state extirpate its wolves. I have watched the face of many a newly wolfless mountain, and seen the south-facing slopes wrinkle with a maze of new deer trails. I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anaemic desuetude, and then to death. I have seen every edible tree defoliated to the height of a saddlehorn. Such a mountain looks as if someone had given God a new pruning shears, and forbidden Him all other exercise. In the end the starved bones of the hoped-for deer herd, dead of its own too-much, bleach with the bones of the dead sage, or molder under the high-lined junipers.

Context: Thinking Like a Mountain By Aldo Leopold

1 Answer 1


"Of its own two-much" (noun) here means

of its own excess OR of its own over-population

It reminds me of the children's book, "The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Birthday."

Your proposed word, "too-much-ness," wasn't needed in this passage, at least. However, you are welcome to try to write something that you think requires adding -ness and see if people buy it.

However, in case you aren't familiar with it, I should tell you of the existing phrase

too much of a muchness

  • @michael.hor257k - I wrote "OR" in the way I would when proposing two different restatements or two different translations. Jan 19, 2017 at 8:04
  • I find it misleading. There is only one meaning here. Your formulation suggests there are two alternative ones. Jan 19, 2017 at 8:06
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    @michael.hor257k - Do you see "excess" and "over-population" as two different meanings? If so, which one do you consider "correct"? // Your approach feels to me like a creativity killer.... Jan 19, 2017 at 8:14
  • I believe I made myself clear. Please refrain from personal remarks. Jan 19, 2017 at 8:17
  • @michael.hor257k - I have said nothing about you, only about the approach you took here. Please forgive me if it appeared otherwise. Jan 19, 2017 at 8:19

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