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Apr 10, 2023
This week’s theme
Words about words

This week’s words
anastrophe
auxesis
apothegm
anacronym
merismus

anastrophe
Cool you must stay.

Previous week’s theme
There’s a word for it
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

From time to time I hear from people bemoaning the decline of language. It’s going to the dogs. Teenagers are destroying the language. Everyone uses emojis. They don’t know how to speak. People these days, so careless, so uneducated!

Some even think they can push the language to make it more logical. I sympathize with them. Their intentions spring from a good heart, but nudging language to go a certain way? “Correcting” language? Tilting at windmills is usually more productive and more fun.

Take the word “go”. It goes: go, went, gone. The past participle “gone” clearly came from “go” but for the past tense we went to “wend” (meaning: to go or direct one’s way) and picked its past tense. Magpie much?

For the word colonel we took spelling from one language and pronunciation from another. Mr. Potato Head would be proud!

A human language is a reflection of humans: illogical, held together with gum and baling wire. No central committee or god designed it intelligently. It evolved from micro changes over thousands of years.

Use the language, play with it, rejoice in it. Just don’t try to fix it. And, please, don’t take on the mantle of making the language great again. It never was. It always is.

This week we’ll look at five words related to words and language.

anastrophe

PRONUNCIATION:
(uh-NAS-truh-fee)

MEANING:
noun: The inversion of the usual order of words.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek ana- (back) + strophe (turning). Earliest documented use: 1555.

USAGE:
“Should you try anastrophe, do you think? No, no one but Yoda pulls that off.”
Mike Kerrigan; Could Virgil Write a Good College Essay?; The Wall Street Journal (New York); Oct 13, 2022.

See more usage examples of anastrophe in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Joy is the best makeup. -Anne Lamott, writer (b. 10 Apr 1954)

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