E is for Etymology

E is for Etymology, Origin 1350–1400; Middle English < Latin etymologia < Greek etymología, equivalent to etymológ ( os ) studying the true meanings and values of words.
One of the first things I do every morning is play my many word games.  Apparently, that’s what WRITERS do.  Ergo, I must be a writer.  Ergo is another lovely E word, way quicker to type than therefore, ergo I decided to use it here and if I continue on with this sentence for much longer you will begin to seriously doubt I have any talent for writing whatsoever.  Ergo I shall stop.

If you love words too, check out

PR Daily News 

and click on Writing and Editing.  Or anywhere else, for that matter.  It’s full of interesting stuff.  The article that convinced me I must belong to that elite group called “writers” is here.  Because I love all those word games and play most of them every day.

MOST days I feel very smug and smart with all the words I know or can figure out and sometimes am even able to spell correctly.  Other days it’s good to bring that ego down a  peg or two by playing Etymologic.  The first time I played I got 4 out of ten by making wild guesses.  The best I’ve done is 8 out of 10 by cheating.  You can totally rationalize cheating if you convince yourself it’s in the interests of learning something new and has nothing at all to do with getting a less embarrassing score.

These games are also something I can enjoy by clicking away with one hand while using the other to drink coffee, another activity which gives me great pleasure.  I wonder where the word multitasking originated?  From Latin multis (much, many) and French tâche (job or task)?  Although the word tache without the accent can also mean ink stain.  So another plausible meaning might be too many ink stains on your fingers from writing so much, and ergo, get a keyboard you moron.

Having a good book on the subject of etymology seemed like such a great idea to me this morning that I searched Amazon for just such an invaluable source of information.  There were just way too many choices. What I ended up downloading to my kindle was this:

English Swear Words and Other Ways to be Completely Misunderstood, by Peter Freeman.

I doubt that it will be helpful for cheating at  Etymologic, but it could prove to be wildly educational.  Sort of like learning a second language, and probably a lot more fun than Latin.

Swear Words – Pro or Con?

Profanity :O!

Over-use and mis-use are the real culprits here, not so much the words themselves. I know people who cannot put a sentence or an idea or an observation together without peppering it with profanities.

I think it’s wildly inappropriate to exclaim “God Damn, it’s a fucking beautiful morning!” There are better adjectives to express that sentiment. Curse words don’t actually make a lot of sense in this context. They simply make the user appear to have a rather limited vocabulary.

If I had a doctor who said “Jesus Christ, it looks like you’ve got a God damned sinus infection! Let’s get you some fucking medication for that. Where the fuck did I put my jesus prescription pad?” I would probably rethink my choice of medical professional. Well, after I stopped laughing, of course.

Words have power when we respect their meaning and select them with care and use them sparingly. If a kid thinks too many things are ‘fucking awesome’ I don’t really know what he means after the 96th time he’s made that same comment about everything from sky diving to his breakfast cereal. There’s a place for swear words in our language, but they shouldn’t be a crutch for everyday use. Look up some different descriptive words and phrases. Get a thesaurus, goddamnit.

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