Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A word from our sponsor

I love the sounds and meanings and nuances of words. Today, I was reading a Dick Francis book, and he used the word somnambulist. I guessed from som (makes me think of insomnia) and ambulist (makes me think of amble) that a somnambulist is a sleepwalker, and, fortunately, I was right.

Let's look at a few other words, all from a special list by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online.

Take maverick. It makes me think of the 1950-60s TV program featuring James Garner. Garner's character, Brett Maverick, was a bit of a maverick. The M-W Dictionary's first definition is an American pioneer who did not brand his calves, and I'd never heard of that usage. It also says that a maverick is an unbranded range animal, especially a motherless calf, or it's an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party. The last definition would fit Brett Maverick.

It's funny, but I've met a bunch of editors who might be called mavericks. And Sarah Palin obviously thinks she's a maverick.

Maverick takes us to rogue. A rogue can be a vagrant or tramp, a dishonest or worthless person or scoundrel, a mischievous person or scamp, a horse that's inclined to shirk or misbehave, or an individual exhibiting a chance and usually inferior biological variation.

Misogyny is another of the dictionary's pet words this year. It means the hatred of women, and it comes from the Greek misogynia, from misein to hate + gynē woman. Obviously, a man who hates women is a misogynist.

Misogyny got me looking online ... a man who loves women is called a philogynist, and a woman who hates men is called a misandrist.

Interestingly, the Blogspot dictionary recognizes misogynist, but not philogynist or misandrist. Not used as much, I guess.

My headline for this blog entry — A word from our sponsor — got me to look up sponsor. It means one who presents a candidate for baptism or confirmation and undertakes responsibility for the person's religious education or spiritual welfare, one who assumes responsibility for some other person or thing, a person or an organization that pays for or plans and carries out a project or activity (especially one that pays the cost of a radio or television program usually in return for advertising time during its course).

The etymology of sponsor comes from the Late Latin, spondēre, to promise.

And, finally, we'll look up etymology. The main definition is the history of a linguistic form (as a word) shown by tracing its development since its earliest recorded occurrence in the language where it is found, by tracing its transmission from one language to another, by analyzing it into its component parts, by identifying its cognates in other languages, or by tracing it and its cognates to a common ancestral form in an ancestral language.

The etymology for etymology: It comes from the Middle English ethimologie, from Anglo-French, from Latin etymologia, from Greek, from etymon + -logia -logy. In other words, the word evolved over the centuries.

Contact: I can be reached at tgilli52@gmail.com or nc3022@yahoo.com. Also, my Twitter handle is EDITORatWORK.

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