My Photo
Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


One of the meanings of wry is distorted or lopsided, such as a wry grin. An example would be – I have a wry grin, my brother’s is wrier and his dog’s is wriest of all – but can dogs really grin? Another, more sinister meaning would be – devious in course or purpose and/or misdirected – even the meaning sounds devious. Somewhat more ironic and/or amusing is the definition saying that wry means bitingly ironic or amusing – but you would have had to be there.

This is obviously one of those posts in which I use seldom-used words and have a wonderful time doing it. Wry’s cousin is awry, and it carries the meaning – away from the expected or proper direction, or something amiss, or something has gone wrong. Such as – my day has gone awry and I have gotten very little done except for chopping up a rotten stump and cutting off 5 large pine limbs. That was when my energy went awry and I came into the house and sprawled on the floor.

My Webster’s informs me that the word skew is a verb and I don’t argue with that since it means to turn aside; or swerve or take an oblique course. Also means to distort or misrepresent such as – to skew data – knew those two. But one form is even used as a noun, as statistics having skewness – don’t think I knew that. Other forms would describe something as skewed and if one was in the process of doing this, they would be skewing.

Then the word askew would complete the circle by meaning: to one side, crookedly or awry. But another one of the meanings is askance and this word can be as innocent as – with a side-glance, sidewise or obliquely – or the more suspicious meaning – with suspicion or disapproval or skeptically. And this brings up the question: Which is worse, being skeptical or cynical?

With just a glance at the definitions I answered my own question. Whereas skeptical means having and/or showing doubt, the harder cynical means distrusting or disparaging the motives or sincerity of others. It also carries the harder meaning of being bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic.

It occurred to me that one is the natural progression of the other. After one has been skeptical hard and long enough, they graduate to the more bitter cynical. This is especially true in the arena of the spiritual and it takes much prayer and the Spirit of God on their behalf to move them from that self-destroying spot. But God can and will do that if we so choose. ec


Blogger Tim Rice said...

This is a great post. You obviously like to play with words. Do you listen and/or participate in NPR's Sunday Puzzle radio program? I often listen to it on my drive to church.

9/05/2006 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

Wonderful exploration of words here, MrEddie. I've never thought much about the distinction between askew and skew, I do know I twist my eyebrows a little into a furrow, and bend my head 'just so', whilest I'm a-figurin' it out.

9/05/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

tim rice - It is usually not on when I am going to church. I do enjoy word exploration and exploitation for entertainment.

bonita - When I'm a-figurin' I usually raise one eye-brow - the Spice imitates me by holding one of her's up with her fingers. I do delight in finding and using words not in common usage. ec

9/05/2006 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger Granny said...

Merle's blog did not go awry when I left a comment just now.

Try this It's the same as the one on my blog but maybe something happened.

Thanks for your comment. Rochelle is much better today and it doesn't seem to have spread.

9/05/2006 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

Just stopped by to catch up on what you've been doing and I can see you've been busy. Tell Spice I eat my fresh peaches with a little salt sprinkled on too.

9/06/2006 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

granny - Thanks for the info. It's always good news when the ailment doesn't spread among the young crowd.

brenda - The Spice will be glad to know that she is not alone in eating salted peaches. :) ec

9/07/2006 09:34:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home