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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

miasma

Some time ago I ran across a word in a blog that looked somewhat innocent and as I pranced through the dictionary in the “m” section I happened to think of it and wanted to bring it to light. This and other words I mention here may be in your everyday conversations but this hasn’t stopped me before from running on and on about something that everybody knows but me.

The word that started all this is miasma, meaning noxious exhalations from putrescent organic matter and/or poisonous effluvia or germs polluting the atmosphere. As if this wasn’t enough, the second meaning of the word is – a dangerous, foreboding, or deathlike influence or atmosphere. It’s almost depressing that things exist which made necessary this word to describe them.

Then other words that I don’t usually see or commonly use danced across my computer screen and I decided to put them in also. The word militate is to have a substantial effect or to weigh heavily. It also carries the meaning - to be a soldier and or to fight for a belief. The word mitigate is sometimes used when militate is meant and is considered in error, especially the phrase “mitigate against”.

Sometimes a word comes along that looks very innocent and maybe even cute but it’s meaning belies its looks considerably. One such word is minatory and it looks to mean something small that a child might play with but actually means something menacing or threatening. An act done in these ways is committed minatorily. It even brought to mind Minotaur, the monster from Greek mythology that was all into eating humans.

Mingy is just another word for stingy or niggardly but I don’t recall running across it before. And how often do we use the word minima – the plural of minimum? Then there is the word minuend, a number from which another is subtracted and I remember it from grade school but do they still use it? This compared to subtrahend - a number that is subtracted from another.

Of course I rejoiced when I got to mirabile dictum, Latin for strange to say – marvelous to relate. To misknow is to fail to understand or misunderstand and I am in misknowledge as to why this word is even necessary. Then I came upon misology, a distrust or hatred of reasoning, argument, or knowledge and I realize that I have met and even known some misologists.

Occasionally I run across a word that looks like it means exactly what it means. The word mizzle simply means a misty drizzle, I applaud the simplicity involved therein. Modus operandi is a mode of operating or method of working and the old time cop shows used to use the initials MO to tell of the way particular crooks did their thing. Sgt Friday used it but I don’t know if this is still used or not.

I complete this written soliloquy with the word moil – to work hard or drudge. Another meaning is to whirl or eddy. A cousin word is toil - exhausting labor or effort. A related word (to me) is roil – to render (a fluid) turbid by stirring up sediment but also to disturb or disquiet or irritate. To follow along with this stirring up and disturbing theme is foil – to prevent the success of, frustrate or thwart.

Even though the word thwart doesn’t start with “m”, I’m all for thwarting the plans of the evil one, particularly concerning the young ones of our church, town and world. I was in attendance at a three-day youth encounter with Christ this last weekend and many lives were changed for the better and forever. God is good, all the time. ec

4 Comments:

Blogger itsboopchile said...

I got down to the last paragraph and had to say, Bless you Mr Eddie."
Betty G

1/22/2008 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Jayleigh said...

All the time, God is good!

AMEN!!


PS Could you possibly change the options on the comments page to allow for Wordpress and Livejournal bloggers to sign in under those accounts? Some other Blogspot users have changed theirs.

Thanks for considering.

1/22/2008 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Words that I’ve not heard before urge me to find their meaning and derivation. Thanks, Mr. Eddie, for adding some new ones to my vocabulary.

1/23/2008 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

itsboopchile - Thank you for your blessing!

jayleigh - All the time!! I'm still a novice at the inner workings of this site but I think I changed the setting to facilitate others getting in - let me know.

SSN - You're welcome. I do enjoy finding new ones myself - as you may have noticed. :) ec

1/23/2008 11:02:00 PM  

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