5

What word can be used to describe a large quantity or amount in a way that it would sound like an antonym for "thimbleful". Preferably a word that rhymes with it or starts with "t". As in:

I had a thimbleful of patience and the task required "?antonym?".

I am looking for a word that has a highly positive connotation, and can be used in formal writing; in praise of someone. I did not come across any entries in places like thesaurus.com for this word. Figurative usage does not seem to be defined even though examples are occasionally given.

Edit:

I chose "torrent" (plural "torrents"), hoping that it would be correct to use it as a unit for measuring something that is essentially limitless and unbounded, something that is overflowing, as in a blessing. Example: He had torrents of true skill and good will.

Another possibility, in line with tchrist suggestion below is "tower" , from the list of terms of venery.

Also, according to Collins Dictionary, thimble is occasionally used for thimbleful in British English.

  • 1
    In any word or phrase request, we need: (i) your criteria for accepting answers, including the connotation, register, and part of speech you are looking for; (ii) exactly in what context you want to use the word or phrase – generally we want the sentence you're writing; and (iii) details of the research you've already done (trips to the thesaurus, etc.) including solutions you've already considered but rejected, and why. For a full explanation from SE staff, see: “Single word requests, crosswords, and the fight against mediocrity”. – MetaEd Dec 15 '17 at 20:25
  • I voted to close this question for being too broad, I don't doubt that the OP looked in a thesaurus under "loads" or "considerable amount", but really there are so many equally good answers. – Mari-Lou A Dec 15 '17 at 21:46
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    Thimble here is a metaphor. An "antonym" to the sense in which it is used here depends on the creativity of the writer and the context. The question is POB on ELU. However, it could make for a great Q on Writing Good Luck. – Kris Dec 16 '17 at 13:03
  • an ounce of patience but required a 55 gallon drum - I can't find an applicable sowing term; best IMO to mince it with a husbandry term. – Mazura Dec 16 '17 at 18:00
  • My first immediate thought was the word bucket but the T sound is at the other end of the word ... – Stewart Dec 17 '17 at 0:49

13 Answers 13

4

If you really need a t-word, you could go for torrent, defined by the online Merriam-Webster as:

1 : a tumultuous outpouring : rush

2 : a violent stream of a liquid (such as water or lava)

3 : a channel of a mountain stream

Torrent is often used to describe large amounts. For example, buried under a torrent of words or One tweet releases a torrent of stories Since thimble is often (usually?) used to describe small quantities of liquid, the juxtaposition can work:

I had a thimble of patience and the task required a torrent!

On the other hand, torrent carries the implication of something arriving with force, suddenly, so it isn't perfect.

Another alternative, a bit more prosaic, is simply ton:

I had a thimble of patience and the task required a ton!

Or:

I had a thimble of patience and the task required a metric ton!

The word metric here, is used as an intensifier1, so that makes it a slightly stronger statement. In a similar vein, if a bit more crude, you can go for crapton. This is a slang and relatively vulgar term which isn't in any serious dictionary I could find, but is defined by Wiktionary as:

(slang, vulgar) A very large amount.

So, you could use:

I had a thimble of patience and the task required a metric crapton!


1I admit I have no evidence of metric as an intensifier other than my own experience, but I am reasonably confident it is used this way. I will admit that this might just be because of the recent popularity of metric crapton though.

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    Surely that would be a metric chitin in company less prone to scatty chat. :) – tchrist Dec 15 '17 at 0:18
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    I think "metric" is only an intensifier to "ton" related measurements, and maybe only in US English, since a 1000kg "metric ton" (or "tonne") is about 10% more massive than the US standard 2000 lb "short ton". – Blckknght Dec 15 '17 at 1:06
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    Oh, I totally agree that it's an intensifier in a phrase like "metric crapton". I only commented because it might not sound as natural outside the US. The "long ton" used in the UK is (very slightly) larger than a metric ton, so I doubt that distinguishing between different kinds of tons has as much of an intensifying effect for UK English speakers. I'm sure it wouldn't be misunderstood (since "ton" is already being used hyperbolically to mean "a lot" rather than as a precise measurement), but it might make the speaker sound more American, or just more wordy to some listeners. – Blckknght Dec 15 '17 at 1:41
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    I've never seen it written before, but I had always pictured it spelled "crap-ton". Crapton sounds like a small town on the outskirts of Poopopolis. And crap-ton itself is a euphemism for, let's say "spit-ton" (not sure if swear words are allowed here), and "spitton" makes no sense without the hyphen. – stone Dec 15 '17 at 2:38
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    Not sure how torrent would fit . . . – veryRandomMe Dec 16 '17 at 19:03
29

A possibility is truckful. It starts with a T, and it has a similarity in its ending sound (though not fully rhyming).

informal a very large amount of something

Example: I had a thimble of patience and the task required a truckful.

The connection would be stronger if you used thimbleful instead of thimble.

A very small quantity.

Example: I had a thimbleful of patience and the task required a truckful.

The juxtaposition of these two words is not unknown, as shown by these usages:

Springfield News Leader

The probably 4-foot-11 Roder may possess a thimbleful of height, but she makes up for it with a dump truck full of heart

How to Tap Into the Goodness of God

God always multiplies, but wouldn't you rather have a truck full instead of a thimble

What may be more common though, is truckload, instead of truckful, as in these examples:

Zil Thrills in the '70s

It was a time when simple information was doled out by the thimble, and fantasy by the truckload.

South Jersey deals with higher levels of radioactivity in drinking water

It’s not like you’re going from a thimble full to a truckload full.

  • Truckload would definitely be the more common phrasing in my experience—as would thimble be over thimbleful. I think it might be better to invert things here, to suggest thimble and truckload primarily, and then make the secondary recommendation of thimbleful and truckful, if the shared -ful ending is more important to the OP than using more common formulations. (But for the record, +1 already and either way.) – KRyan Dec 17 '17 at 17:29
26

"I had a thimble of patience and the task required a tun."

tun (plural tuns)

  1. A large cask; an oblong vessel bulging in the middle, like a pipe or puncheon, and girt with hoops; a wine cask.
  2. (brewing) A fermenting vat.
  3. An old English measure of capacity for liquids, containing 252 wine gallons; equal to two pipes.

Obviously this word eventually became the more commonly seen "ton", but has a stronger connotation of the container itself as opposed to the volume or weight measurement, paralleling your use of "thimble".

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    If I heard this, I'd assume they were saying 'ton' (or 'tonne'). If you want the implication to be a cask, I'd prefer to say a caskful or a barrelful. – Michael Dec 15 '17 at 11:21
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    This obscure word provides a poetic solution. +1. – Leatherwing Dec 15 '17 at 13:47
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    @Michael - It's certainly more ambiguous in spoken than written form, but on the bright side, the meaning is more or less preserved if it's heard as "ton". – Russell Borogove Dec 15 '17 at 16:52
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    The ambiguity is the poetic point! 'Tun' may be heard two ways, both of them apposite. – Laurence Payne Dec 17 '17 at 14:40
  • @Michael they are saying that: A "tonne" is the weight of a tun of water. – fectin - free Monica Dec 17 '17 at 21:03
12

"... large quantity or amount in a way that it would sound as an antonym for "thimble".

Preferably a word that rhymes with it or start with "t". As in:

I had a thimble of patience and the task required a "trainload".

Definition of trainload

  • The full freight or passenger capacity of a railroad train.
  • A load that fills a train.
  • A specified minimum number of loaded cars or tons of cargo necessary to secure a special rate ('trainload rate').

The heaviest train consisted of 682 ore cars and eight distributed GE AC6000CW locomotives with a total weight of 99,734 t (98,159 tons).

A trainload:

BHP Ore Train

  • Not just a trainload, but a metric trainload!! – RonJohn Dec 16 '17 at 14:02
8

A thimble is something that would only hold impractically small amounts if it was used as a container. More specifically, it can only hold an amount equivalent to the tip of your finger.

What you probably want is a container that holds unusually large, yet practical amounts of liquid. Given that you specifically want a word that starts with a T, I think the best commonly known word is tub, which is a word that I presume is in little need of defining. You could also use tubful to directly reference the entire amount a single bathtub can hold.

Bathtubs in particular can hold almost the entire human body, with some water besides and there are various other sorts which can be used for other purposes such as for example cheese making.

Admittedly, there are a couple of problems. The first is that most tubs are not of a determinate size, yet I do not think this will pose too much of a problem because in the modern day and age, most people should own a bathtub and see it every day, if not to take a bath, then on the way to their toilet at least.

The other is that perhaps a bathtub isn't quite the most outrageous quantity of water to leave the amount of hyperbolic impact that you want. However, it is quite a large quantity nevertheless. According to Environmental Science by G. Tyler Miller and Scott Spoolman (2012), the typical bathtub is 151 liters or 40 gallons worth of water, and the bathtub pictured on page 241 looks like it might be a little bit on the smallish side, at least to me.

This particular problem can be partially solved at least in part through pluralization, by indicating that there is at least one more tub's worth of water, which is at least 80 gallons if we assume a bathtub's worth of water. Even if somebody assumes another, smaller type of tub, such as a tubful of ice cream, it is probably going to be considerably larger than a thimble's worth, which I think is the most important factor.

6

Since a thimble can hold only a little bit of something, all you need is something that can hold a whole lot of something. The obvious other ends of that scale would be a barrel if you consider patience something deserving of a wet measure like oil, or bushel if your patience is something that can be held by a dry measure like apples.

Perhaps there should be classic measures of emotions or conditions that work like terms of venery work for groups of creatures, pairing thereby a covey of quail with a chaldron of charm, a gaggle of geese with a hectare of hate, a clowder of cats with a candela of curiosity, or a kettle of kestrels with a firkin of famine.

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    +1 for bushel. I can see why other answers are upvoted, but bushel seems to match the poetic tone. – Stu W Dec 16 '17 at 16:54
  • How curious might one be, exactly, to emit ¹⁄₆₈₃ watt of curiosity per steradian at monochromatic radiation frequency 540 × 10¹²? I can’t really tell whether that would make you very curious indeed, or just a bit curious. Perhaps, going with the barrell theme, a kilderkin of curiosity would require less cerebral activity to grok. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 16 '17 at 19:42
6

One alliterative suggestion would be a tankful.

the capacity or contents of a tank or large container for the storage of liquids or gases
a tankful of petrol
a tankful of water

(Source: Collins English Dictionary—Complete and Unabridged, 12th edition)

Here is an illustration of a potential use: I had a thimble of patience and the task required a tankful.


If you want it to rhyme, you're going to need to change the word 'thimble'. You could try something like:

I had a crumb of patience and the task required a tonne.

5

Sorry! From my perspective there's no antonym for "thimble" even from sites to site (wordphd.com/antonyms-of/thimble)and books

4

I have branched out on this one, and my suggestion departs slightly from the stated requirement.

  • I wanted to it to be alliterative but could find no measure or container beginning with 'th'.

  • I also wanted the second word to be one syllable, for emphasis.

I had a thimble-full of patience and the task required a flood.

4

If you're writing a lyric, you could use cask (which rhymes with "task" — and makes a euphonious phrase).

3

How about 'vat'. I don't know a word for a large container that rhymes with 'thiimble' but how about using 'brim-full' ie 'a brim-full vat'.

Brim-full means full to the brim, or top.

There are some lovely words for large containers in English, you'll find them in the English weights and measures charts:

Bushell - 8 gallons Peck - 2 gallons Barrell Hundredweight Ton

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_units Hope that helps 😊

3

I would personally go with bucket or bucket-full.

While bucket is not as large as the other suggestions, a bucket looks a great deal like an overgrown thimble. This would all depend on context, of course. While a thimble is generally considered small, it's not miniscule (by most standards). As a result, a constrasting measure (rather than an antonym) is not necessarily enormous.

2

When I read this answer, I thought trunkful. It alliterates by spelling and has as much of a rhyme as truckful or tubfull does.

The real reason I like it though is that I think of a thimble as a sewing implement. And a trunk is a place where you put the results of sewing, that is to say, clothes. So there is a resonance of purpose there. A seamstress might reasonably have access to both a thimble and a trunk, whereas it seems unlikely that she would have a truck or tub stored with her sewing supplies.

Alternative for a bartender: a jigger of patience when I needed a keg!

protected by tchrist Dec 15 '17 at 13:29

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