Noted in passing: In the May 2004 issue of Word Ways, Max Maven notes that “English words containing ‘ag’ almost invariably have negative meanings, usually rather harsh.” He cites BRAG, DRAG, FLAG, GAG, HAG, LAG, NAG, RAG, SAG, SLAG, SNAG, and SWAG, among others.
In May 1984 Bruce Price pointed out that words rhyming with ash tend to be “words of terrible action, of great vigor and violence”:
BASH, BRASH, CLASH, CRASH, DASH, FLASH, GASH, GNASH, HASH, LASH, MASH, PASH, PLASH, RASH, SLASH, SMASH, SPLASH, STASH, THRASH, TRASH
There are exceptions, of course. I wonder if there are any similar patterns among positive words?