Sunday, November 22, 2009


I love words! I spend a lot of my time dealing with words, their sometimes strange definitions, their etymologies and their pronunciations. Cripes, one of the first sites I visit each morning is I'm not a big crossword puzzle guy, like some I know, and I drive others crazy by doing Jumbles backwards. But I do enjoy discovering just where certain words derive their origins. This week's theme is verbs, and today's word is nettle. When I look at today's picture, taken at Abacus on Exchange Street, I think of the word vase: a vessel, as of glass, porcelain, earthenware, or metal, usually higher than it is wide, used chiefly to hold cut flowers or for decoration.
1555–65; < class="ital-inline">vās vessel
n. An open container, as of glass or porcelain, used for holding flowers or for ornamentation.
[French, from Latin vās, vessel.]
Word Origin & History
1563, from M.Fr. vase, from L. vas "container, vessel." Amer.Eng. preserves the original Eng. pronunciation (Swift rhymes it with face, Byron with place and grace), while British Eng. shifted mid-19c. to preference for a pronunciation that rhymes with bras.
The different ways we pronounce the same word has a bit of an intrigue to me also, and vase is a good example. Oh well, if I can get my face out of my dictionary, I'll be able to enjoy another fine sunny day here in southern Maine.

1 comment:

  1. Words are very good playthings, indeed. And very powerful tools. I'm curious about precisely what you mean by doing the 'jumbles backwards'.