You can be nonplussed, so why can't you be plussed?


I’ve never been plussed. And, according to dictionaries, neither have you. There’s no such word, say Merriam-Webster, Webster’s New World, American Heritage and, I’m sure, many others.

My personal experience confirms this. Never have I heard anyone say, “Gee, Bob sure was plussed by the company’s latest earnings report.”

That’s contrary to what would seem a reasonable assumption: If you can be nonplussed, when you’re not that, you must be plussed. But no. No plussed for you.
We see this from time to time in English. A word starts with a negative prefix like “non” or “dis,” yet the root word can’t stand alone without the prefix.

You can’t just chop off the first syllable to un-negate it. If you could, people would walk around in a near constant state of being gruntled, punctuated by short bursts of acting chalant.

But “nonplussed” isn’t what it appears. Here's a look at where this word came from and how to use it.


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