Fat & cheerful=jolly; skinny & cheerful=perky
November 9, 2007 11:41 PM   Subscribe

Cheerful thin people are "perky," and cheerful fat people are "jolly." What are other synonyms that carry connotations of physical size?

I once heard someone say that they wanted to lose weight because it meant the difference between people thinking of her as "perky" rather than "jolly." I thought about it and, yeah, I think it's generally true--at least for me. I don't consciously label cheerful people with those terms, but I suppose I do visualize a chubbier person when I think of "jolly" and a thin-to-average-sized person as "perky."

Any other synonyms with physical size connotations?
posted by HotPatatta to Grab Bag (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Similar question asked recently in regards to men of size here.
posted by dendrite at 11:44 PM on November 9, 2007

Pixie, sprite, fairy.

Troll, ogre, amazon.
posted by Reggie Digest at 11:49 PM on November 9, 2007

Cheerful thin people are "perky"? I've certainly met plenty of cheerful (read: manic) people who I consider perky who are not thin.

The *only* 'person' I think of as jolly is Santa Claus, so that is where the fat/jolly association comes from, for me.

"Spritely," I admit, makes me think of thin people. And isn't a word, according to Firefox. It is, I assure you.

Others far more adept with their thesauri will have to fill in the rest for you.
posted by librarylis at 11:55 PM on November 9, 2007

skinny people do not "chortle."
posted by clh at 12:00 AM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]

I always thought perky meant girls with red cheecks who say te-he-heee and bat their eyelashes.

mopy skinny people are tragic hipsters.
posted by krautland at 12:27 AM on November 10, 2007

I was once told the difference between emo and goth was calories.
posted by polyglot at 12:48 AM on November 10, 2007 [7 favorites]

Feisty people are usually small.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:28 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by obliquicity at 4:16 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm with liquorice: perky = short for me. Katie Couric is the textbook picture, although 'small' may be more precise than just 'short.'

'Perky' and 'jolly' aren't really synonyms to my ear, though I admit it isn't too much of a stretch. Maybe it's the size connotation that makes them dissimilar. Hmm.

If someone were described to me as bombastic, I would picture them on the larger side, though not necessarily overweight.
posted by Shohn at 6:25 AM on November 10, 2007

"Jovial" makes me think of happy fat people.

In my head, these people also have handlebar mustaches. They look at lot like William Taft, smoking a cigar at a pub and laughing with his friends.
posted by JDHarper at 6:29 AM on November 10, 2007

spry = nimble/quick with connotation of thin/elderly. Webster's example usage includes "elderly" though not part of any definition seen in my search just concluded.
posted by Kevin S at 6:34 AM on November 10, 2007

I used to do a lot of acting, and actors tend to get labels attached to them based on their style which are often used to determine what roles they get. I noticed that when I went from quite thin to a little overweight, my labels changed. I don't think my style has changed much, though it might have to some degree since I've aged a few years.

As a thin person I was more likely to be labled as: gamine, ingenue, starlet, dreamer, anything that was more innocent or cute or playful or childlike.

As someone a little overweight, I get more: vamp, siren.

Muscular women tend to get warrior, femme fatale, heroine.

It makes sense to some point, that skinny women with few curves would get more childlike stereotypes and that voluptuous women would get more sexual and domineering stereotypes. I can't say I like it, though. I also feel bad for the muscular women who can't seem to get any role that isn't completely based on the fact that they are muscular.
posted by giggleknickers at 6:41 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

laconic = tall & thin
perky = Katie Couric
cute = small
spunky = small
posted by theora55 at 7:06 AM on November 10, 2007

I'm with those who have never associated "perky" with cheerful and thin. I associated "perky" with small.
posted by jdroth at 10:36 AM on November 10, 2007

scrappy= small
posted by cushie at 1:26 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

From a classic episode of Newsradio:
Beth: If I were you I'd be upset too. I mean you? Cute? Come on.
Lisa: I am not entirely uncute. I... I... Why are you being nasty about this?
Beth: I'm not being nasty. You're pretty. You're very pretty in fact. But cute, I don't think so.
Lisa: Well I wasn't aware there was a difference.
Beth: Well of course there is a difference. Pretty means pretty. Cute means pretty but short and/or hyperactive - like me.
Lisa: Uh huh. What is beautiful?
Beth: Beautiful means pretty and tall.
Lisa: Gorgeous?
Beth: Pretty with great hair.
Lisa: Striking?
Beth: Pretty with a big nose.
Lisa: OK, you're making this up.
Beth: That's ridiculous, why would I make it up?
Lisa: Voluptuous?
Beth: Pretty and fat.
Lisa: Sexy?
Beth: Pretty and easy.
Lisa: Exotic?
Beth: Ugly
posted by smackfu at 11:03 AM on November 13, 2007 [3 favorites]

« Older Name this movie.   |   We have to talk about what happened last night at... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.