Our language contains perhaps a score of words that may be described as absolute words. These are words that properly admit of no comparison or intensification. . . . My own modest list of words that cannot be qualified by “very” or “rather” or “a little bit” includes unique, imperative, universal, final, fatal, complete, virgin, pregnant, dead, equal, eternal, total, unanimous, essential, and indispensable.
JAMES J. KILPATRICK