Category Archives: etymology

Wind me up

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Not enough sleep last night and very little rest today—especially way too much time on the phone (I’ve discovered I really don’t like talking on the phone anymore)—but it was a day of new possibilities, so that’s good. Talked with a potential new client, arranged two interviews for the radio show, got some financial aid info in, did news research, and recorded news at the station.

Now I’m beat and trying to wind down “early.”

wind (v.1) Look up wind at Dictionary.com“move by turning and twisting,” O.E. windan “to turn, twist, wind” (class III strong verb; past tense wand, pp. wunden), from P.Gmc. *wendanan (cf. O.S. windan, O.N. vinda, O.Fris.winda, Du. winden, O.H.G. wintan, Ger. winden, Goth. windan “to wind”), from PIE *wendh- “to turn, wind, weave” (cf. L. viere “twist, plait, weave,” vincire “bind,” Lith. vyti “twist, wind”). Related to wend, which is its causative form, and to wander. Wind down “come to a conclusion” is recorded from 1952; wind up “come to a conclusion” is from 1825. Winding sheet “shroud of a corpse” is attested from early 15c. ~ Online Etymology Dictionary

How is it that both wind down and wind up mean “come to a conclusion?”

Dictionary.com Verb phrases

wind down

a. to lessen in intensity so as to bring or come to a gradual end: The war is winding down.
b. to calm down; relax: He’s too excited tonight to wind down and sleep.

wind up

a. to bring to a state of great tension; excite (usually used in the past participle):
     He was all wound up before the game.
b. to bring or come to an end; conclude: to wind up a sales campaign.
c. to settle or arrange in order to conclude: to wind up one’s affairs.
d. to become ultimately: to wind up as a country school teacher.
e. Baseball . (of a pitcher) to execute a windup.

Tomorrow’s our monthly VegNet potluck. It’s a bummer that once in a while my WordPress/Web Design & Dev group, which meets every other Wednesday, falls on the potluck night. I really wanted to go tomorrow too, as somebody is presenting on the dos and don’ts of video hosting and blogging. But since I help organize the potluck and need to help set up, it’s hard for me to not be there. We just don’t have enough volunteers.

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Lacks Con • fi • dence

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Con • fi • dence

confidence Look up confidence at Dictionary.comearly 15c., from M.Fr. confidence or directly from L. confidentia, from confidentem (nom. confidens) “firmly trusting, bold,” prp. of confidere “to have full trust or reliance,” from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + fidere “to trust” (see faith). For sense of “swindle” see con (3).

  1. full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing: We have every confidence in their ability to succeed.
  2. belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance: His lack of confidence defeated him.
  3. certitude; assurance: He described the situation with such confidence that the audience believed him completely.
  4. a confidential communication: to exchange confidences.

con (3) Look up con at Dictionary.comswindling” (adj.), 1889, Amer.Eng., from confidence man (1849), from the many scams in which the victim is induced to hand over money as a token of confidence. Confidence with a sense of “assurance based on insufficient grounds” dates from 1590s. As a verb, “to swindle,” from 1896. Con also can be a slang or colloquial shortening of some nouns beginning in con-, e.g., from the 19th century, confidant, conundrum, conformist, convict, contract, and from the 20th century, conductor, conservative.

For more fun with words, see the Online Etymology Dictionary.

May the gods smite the smug

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May the gods smite the smug
smug (adj.) Look up smug at Dictionary.com1550s, “trim, neat, spruce, smart,” possibly an alteration of Low Ger. smuk “trim, neat,” from M.L.G. smücken “to adorn,” and smiegen “to press close” (see smock). The meaning “having a self-satisfied air” is from 1701, an extension of the sense of “smooth, sleek” (1580s), which was commonly used of attractive women and girls. Related: Smugly; smugness.

  1. contentedly confident of one’s ability, superiority, or correctness; complacent.
  2. trim; spruce; smooth; sleek.
smite (v.) Look up smite at Dictionary.comO.E. smitan “to hit, strike, beat” (strong verb, pt. smat, pp. smiten), from P.Gmc. *smitanan (cf. Swed. smita, Dan. smide “to smear, fling,” O.Fris. smita, M.L.G., M.Du. smiten “to cast, fling,” Du. smijten “to throw,” O.H.G. smizan “to rub, strike,” Ger. schmeißen “to cast, fling,” Goth. bismeitan “to spread, smear”), perhaps from PIE root *(s)mei- “to smear, to rub,” but original sense in Germanic seems to be of throwing. Sense of “slay in combat” (c.1300) is originally Biblical, smite to death, first attested c.1200.

Funk • y

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Funk • y [fuhng-kee]

funk (1) Look up funk at Dictionary.com“depression, ill-humor,” 1743, probably originally Scottish and northern English; earlier as a verb, “panic, fail through panic,” (1737), said to be 17c. Oxford University slang, perhaps from Flem. fonck “perturbation, agitation, distress,” possibly related to O.Fr. funicle “wild, mad.”

noun
  1. cowering fear; state of great fright or terror.
  2. a dejected mood: He’s been in a funk ever since she walked out on him.

verb (used with object)

  1. to be afraid of.
  2. to frighten.
  3. to shrink from; try to shirk.

funk (2) Look up funk at Dictionary.com“bad smell,” 1620s, from dialectal Fr. funkière “smoke,” from O.Fr. fungier “give off smoke; fill with smoke,” from L. fumigare “to smoke” (see fume). In reference to a style of music, it is first attested 1959, a back formation from funky.

funky Look up funky at Dictionary.com1784, “old, musty,” in reference to cheeses, then “repulsive,” from funk (2) + -y (2). It began to develop an approving sense in jazz slang c.1900, probably on the notion of “earthy, strong, deeply felt.” … The word reached wider popularity c.1954 (e.g. definition in “Time” magazine, Nov. 8, 1954) and in the 1960s acquired a broad slang sense of “fine, stylish, excellent.”

For more fun with words, see the Online Etymology Dictionary.

Dis • cour • aged

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Dis • cour • aged

discourage Look up discourage at Dictionary.com mid-15c., discoragen, from M.Fr. descourager, from O.Fr. descoragier, from des- “away” (see dis-) + corage (see courage). Related: Discouraged; discouragement; discouraging.

  1. to deprive of courage, hope, or confidence; dishearten; dispirit.
  2. to dissuade (usually followed by from ).
  3. to obstruct by opposition or difficulty; hinder: Low prices discourage industry.
  4. to express or make clear disapproval of; frown upon: to discourage the expression of enthusiasm.

courage Look up courage at Dictionary.com c.1300, from O.Fr. corage (12c., Mod.Fr. courage) “heart, innermost feelings; temper,” from V.L. *coraticum (cf. It. coraggio, Sp. coraje), from L. cor “heart,” which remains a common metaphor for inner strength. In M.E., used broadly for “what is in one’s mind or thoughts,” hence “bravery,” but also “wrath, pride, confidence, lustiness,” or any sort of inclination. Replaced O.E. ellen, which also meant “zeal, strength.”

The wider the grin, the sharper the blade

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A Year of Mindfulness: 52 Weeks of Focus – Week 27

Optimism. Mindfulness is all about the present moment, yet we often live our lives in the past and future. Since we cannot change the past nor predict the future, remaining hopeful seems the best course of action each time we are taken out of the present moment. For this reason, I spend time observing my thoughts. My outlook and attitude depends upon it. When we think negatively about things, more negativity occurs. When we think positively however, more positivity follows. Like increases like. This week’s theme is optimism. Optimism is all about our thoughts – having a bright outlook.

I’m all for being mindful—definitely something I’m constantly working towards. But don’t even get me started on optimism. A natural skeptic, I’m not convinced that it’s healthy or helpful to constantly try to think “positively.” In fact, it can be detrimental at times (think: cancer patients feeling guilty that they’ve made themselves sick or are not getting better because they have not been “ positive” enough).

Have you ever met a person who smiles all the time? Who you can describe as constantly cheerful? Don’t trust them. Don’t trust them to be honest with themselves—or with you. They’ll be the first one to have a mental breakdown—or to stab you in the back. Someone I was once close to used to say, “The wider the grin, the sharper the blade,” and for the most part, I’ve found that to be true. I did not realize at the time that he was essentially quoting one of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition: “The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife,” but it makes sense because he was a big Star Trek fan. (For the record, I’m an appreciator of Star Trek, but not sure I’d consider myself a fan, namely because I do not watch the movies and episodes over and over again, memorizing the dialog. Also, I’m sure the origin of the idiom goes further back than Star Trek.)

This does not mean that we all need to be full of gloom and doom, nor does it give us an excuse to be assholes to each other. Nor does it mean that I don’t appreciate that rare individual who has faith in humanity but has not lost their critical thinking skills or sense of humor. It does not even mean that I’m not sometimes hopeful. If I didn’t have a glimmer of hope to latch on to at times, I wouldn’t be here.


View from the top

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View from the top of Pilot Butte on another beautiful summer evening. Hiked up by myself for once. We may have had a long winter and a short mild summer, but the days have been just right lately—and the evenings magnificent.

Pilot Butte - Sunset

Pilot Butte - Sunset

Pilot Butte - Sunset

Pilot Butte - Sunset