If I asked you to think of something or someone whose name is so terrible, so odious, that you could not even mention it, what would you think of? I’m guessing that many of you would come up with the evil character in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series; namely, Lord Voldemort, or his alias dictus, “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”
For very different reasons, the term “YHWH” or “Yahweh” was the Hebrew term used by Jews for the God of Abraham. Historically, it was considered a profound lack of respect just to mention the name of God except by high priests on very holy days, so Jews often reverted to Adonia, meaning my Lord, or HaShem, meaning the Name.
In some places like Australia, North Africa, southern India, and Siberia, for certain cultural groups, the utterance of a recently dead person’s name is highly taboo. And as children we are taught that in polite society there are certain swear words not to be used, which we often replace with euphemisms – a blander form of of the word. In fact, many of our mild swear words, such as Sam Hill for the devil, are euphemisms. Most of us couldn’t get through a day without using a few good euphemisms. Go ahead and try and you will see what I mean.
But we are straying afield from the original thought. What word would one use for a situation where the mere mention of something terrible and evil is too repugnant for thought, something unmentionable…something unspeakable? Could you provide an answer? Well, there is a word for that, and it’s infandous – referring to something being too repugnant to be spoken or expressed. So next time someone mentions Lord Voldemort’s name, just make a grimace and let them know that name is just too infandous to be uttered.