Random Thoughts

Let's have a few words

... with many meanings

by Russ Priestley

It's a strange language we have when one word can have seven or eight meanings ... many of those courtesy of the British. Look at the word dickey. It can mean a man's detachable shirt front; a woman"s detachable blouse front; a child's bib or pinafore; a small bird; a driver's seat in a carriage; a seat in the back of a carriage; a donkey; or even a nickname for poor Richard. Speaking of names, how about John? With a capital, it's a common name. Otherwise, it can mean a place for physical relief; the term for a person who is an easy mark; or a customer of a woman of ill repute.

A turnover could be a baked pastry, but these days it is more commonly applied to a stupid truck driver who is usually driving too fast for a turn, or perhaps cut off by a motorist. Add to this list the drivers of top-heavy SUV's. If done in a spectacular manner, it becomes a rollover. The simple word hit is gaining new meaning. In addition to its reference to baseball, it can be used to rate a Broadway show; a poker request; and now a visit to a web site.

Gaining prominence recently is the term, went missing. If one is lost, how can he go (went) there?  One of our news radio stations has been reporting a storm wrecking havoc. Someone must have brought it to their attention because they are now saying wreaking. Of course there is the old standby, operators are standing by. You probably picture those persons without a chair for hours and you call in with your pledge. Right?

How about joint? This could refer to two body parts joining; a sleazy night club; a bank account or investment with shared ownership; a business venture of more than one person; a fracture in a rock mass; a cut of meat with bone in; a rolled cigarette usually containing marijuana.

I won't etymologize here because I'm not an etymologist. So there!



October 1, 2004  


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