“You’re a usage snob,” my friend tells me.
“Better a usage snob than a usage slob,” I snap back.
The key word I chose for this year was “evolve” which means to develop gradually but it also implies growth or maturity, not merely to be changed.
There is a Greek word, apoptosis, which means natural death of cells. I read that its ancient Greek usage was to describe the “falling off” of petals from flowers. That description makes me feel wistful. I see such a falling off all around me. It makes me resolve to evolve into a nicer person.
It’s not easy, when it’s not in your nature, to be nice to and about everyone and everything, but I’ll try. Smile more. Say nice things. Agree with others that people and things are nice. Secretly, though, I will snicker about the etymology of the word nice: from the Latin nescius, meaning ignorant. Or the Old French meaning, careless, clumsy, stupid.
I know I’ve been complaining too much about the persistent and pervasive use of the word lovely. Lovely is from the old English luffic and once meantaffectionate, loveable, but, as George P. Marsh pointed out in The Origin and History of the English Language,“ it is now used indiscriminately to all pleasing material objects, from a piece of plum-cake to a Gothic cathedral.” Language evolves, but I don’t always like it.
I tell my friend that I am an old crank. She agrees.
Yet I am determined to evolve.
I can stop being cranky.
Watch for it!
It will be lovely.