August favourites #18: words

August 18, 2018

I’ve always been interested in words, their history, derivation, etymology. Some words sound beautiful – concatenationis one of my favourites. But for sheer weirdness, I pick eleemosynary. Not one that’s easily dropped into conversation, and not one that your interlocutor would understand (probably). For me its utter weirdness stems from the contrast between the noun ‘alms’ as in charitable giving (four letters, begins with a, &c), and its adjectiveeleemosynary. And yet both stem from the same, originally Greek, word. The longer one is the closer to the Greek, the short the ‘English’ derivation. How we got there is a source of wonder to me – yes I know I could look it up in an etymological dictionary – and truly language is a marvellous thing.

I’m doing something different for the holiday month of August, writing about some of my favourites: poems, plays, music, art and other things, a short piece on a different topic each day. The categories are random, as are the choices within them, meaning that’s my favourite that day, and is subject to change… And I will try and explain why each choice is special for me. As always, I look forward to your comments.

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4 Responses to “August favourites #18: words”


  1. Oh, but you must share what they mean!
    I’m intrigued by eleemosynary it reminds me of one of my favourite essential oils, Elemi (Canarium luzonicum), related to the Frankincense, Myrhh family. I believe there may be a connection. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. aubreyleaman Says:

    These are awesome words! One of my personal favorites has to be “rapscallion,” in part because it makes me think of a rapping onion haha. These have been such interesting posts to follow!

    Liked by 1 person


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