A Headlong Rush

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is PRECIPITATE

Precipitate can be a verb meaning:
to throw violently, hurl
to bring about especially abruptly
to cause to condense and fall or deposit
to fall headlong, fall or come suddenly into some condition
to move or act with violent or unwise speed

Though this word is usually replaced by something simpler. Rain and snow fall. You throw, toss, or hurl something.

He threw the baseball to his brother, who caught it and chucked it back. However, his second throw was high and wide. The boys watched in dismay as the ball hurtled over the fence into their neighbour’s yard. The sound of breaking glass told them they’d better precipitate their exit from the backyard.

Sir Knightly discovered that his rare and precious volume of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales had disappeared after a dinner party at his stately manor last week. An investigation was made by a private inquiry agent, who found the stolen volume in Lord Thornbury’s possession. In spite of efforts to keep this matter out of the news, the Press got wind of the affair. The news report created a scandal that precipitated his Lordship’s departure for an unnamed colonial shore.

It can be a noun:
a product, result, or outcome of some process or action
or an adjective:
falling, flowing, or rushing with steep descent
exhibiting violent or unwise speed

The precipitate river, swelled with spring runoff, rushed toward the cliffs where its waters squeezed between narrow rock walls and flung themselves onto the rocks below.

When his aunt scolded him for driving too fast, he boasted that he lived his whole life in the fast lane. She replied that this precipitate approach to living may well lead to a premature death.

A Mouthful of Word

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is DEPAUPERATE

What an intriguing word! Substance there! You can put it in your mouth and chew on it for awhile. Cut it into quarters like toast. Serve it with jam; it’ll go down easier.

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I see four syllables trying to get in a line and take me somewhere, but we’re not making headway because I’m wandering in the dark.

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Hauling out the old dictionary, I find this word means just the opposite of what I’d expect. I know what a PAUPER is, and the DE- as a suffix usually means the opposite, or undo. Like desegregate or decipher. To my mind this should be a verb and if someone is depauperated, they’ve just won the lottery, got a government grant, or were hit with a windfall of some kind.

But no. It’s actually an adjective that means – according to Lexico – poorly or imperfectly developed. Merriam-Webster definition:: falling short of natural development or size; impoverished. Like the prairies in a summer of drought. Last summer our sloughs were in a depauperate state.

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Oh, well. Live and learn.

Pixabay images:
Toast & jam — Muhammad Ragab
Giraffes — Clicker free vector images
Dry desert — Sebadelval

Insipid Indeed!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is JUST. This has become a rather maligned word nowadays, but in my response I’ve let the word JUST give its lively rebuttal to its accusers. 😉

Can you imagine what it’s like to fall out of favor with the world? To have the inky-fingers set reject you? Call for your extermination?

They call me an INSIPID word. They say I mumble and fudge things. Extremists grumble that I’m not enthusiastic enough, that I never go all the way.

She should be deathly ill, they say, not just sick. He should be at the top of his game, not just getting there. The children should be little monsters, not just misbehaving.

Some so-called writing experts call me a “weasel word” and advise that I be deleted, along with my buddies about, a bit, and rather. Well, I rather think that’s just a bit extreme.

I call myself CONCILIATORY. I soothe, mollify the melodrama, keep writers from going off the deep end. If he’s just cold, why say he’s freezing, eh? If something’s just cute, why say it’s exquisite?

If someone’s on the brink of disaster, it seems like he’ll fly off any second. But if he’s just on the brink of disaster, well that implies a certain stop, right? A moment to breathe, to think, before tumbling over.

And if someone’s just about dead, he’s a whole lot better off than if he is dead. If something just died, it’s not cold and stiff yet. If he’s just out of prison, he hasn’t had time to get into more trouble. Maybe he’ll go straight?

I soften expectations. If she’s just a little girl, you can’t assume she’ll behave, physically or mentally, like an adult. He’s just an old man? So is he apt to enter the Ironman event? Don’t bank on it.

I try to be helpful by modifying criticism. If someone’s just eccentric, he’s not off the deep end yet. If she’s just touchy, she may well have other sterling qualities you could focus on.

I have a twin, also named JUST. We were once Siamese twins, but someone separated us. I veered toward ONLY where he took the UPRIGHT way. My twin adds a ring of truth wherever he appears. If you read that “Her words were just,” it’s not like they were just words. They were honest words.

We meet at the table sometimes. I’ll say “He’s just had two desserts” and my twin will say “He’ll get his just desserts later, when he gets on the scale.”

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Note from me: Writing prompts are about having fun, they say, and I had mine with this word. 🙂

Some Native Words

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is ESCULENT

Image: Rita E at: Pixabay

Lady Northorpe was throwing one of her famous parties. The guests had gathered in the ball room and servants were offering around trays of food prepared by their chef.

Dame Snootwich ogled the dainties on the tray a servant was holding out. “Oh, these look almost too good to eat!”

The butler, passing at that moment, said, “I assure you, my Lady, our chef’s delicacies are all quite esculent.

After the butler had left the room, Dame S turned to the serving girl. “Whatever did he mean by that odd word?”

“I think it means edible, my Lady. Our butler came from the colonies, a place called Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They speak some native language there – Cree, I think they call it – so his English has a few foreign words mixed in.”

A Small But Mighty Word

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is SOLSTICE. When I got up the temp was -35 C, so you can believe we’ll rejoice in any upward trend. Even one or two minutes more daylight will be a welcome change.

And my word-of-the-day this morning was YOKE. A small but mighty word, if you’re the one that’s in the yoke. It all started with a comment…

I named one of the characters in my WIP novel Joel. He and his brother Layne are riding in the back seat of a club cab pickup* and, as teenage boys will do, Joel leans over and teases Layne. Layne gives him a shove in return. “Keep on your own side, Jokel.”

The nickname “Jokel” being Layne’s invention, a combo of Joke and Joel with a hint of “Peasant!” (yokel) thrown in. This word confused one poor critique-giver; he’d searched for it in several dictionaries and not found it.

His comment this morning, plus my curiosity about word etymology, led me from joke to yokel to yoke. Yoke is a well travelled word! From the Tower of Babel, across the steppes, the seas, plains and mountains of Europe, even into the Nordic countries.

The original meaning of YOKE was JOIN, as a team joined together. From the Indo-European jugom it entered Latin and became jugum – from whence jugular & subjugate are derived. The word appears in Sanskrit as jugam, in Czech as jho, in Finnish as juko. Ancient Germanic borrowed it from the Finns and it became jukam, which evolved into the German joch and the Dutch juk.

The original Indo-European compound form jug- and joug-, meant joined to (like conjugal.) This evolved into the Latin jungere from which we get our words join, junction, conjunctive, etc. The Sanskrit word for union became yogaunion with the universe – which we’ve adopted as written.

According to Lexico, a yokel is an unsophisticated person from a rural area; a country bumpkin. Origin uncertain. Since feudal serfs, farmers, were once bound to the land and landowner, it’s not hard to see that connection.

  • Some critiquers say I don’t need to say “club cab pickup”; I should just give the name of the truck and everyone will know. Clueless me, I Googled it. 😉 If you’re into makes and models of pickups, this was a 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 Extended cab– since this story took place circa 2010. If it turns out that Joel & Layne need their own doors, I’ll have to extend it again to a Crew Cab model. 🙂

Define The Word

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was QUESTION. What a wondrous word this is, cracking open zillions of possibilities. I’ve already used it in my earlier post, but I’ll have another go, this one with a quiz for you.

This is a question for lovers of exotic words. I came across a delicious new word–GALLIMAUFRY–a couple of days ago. Here are some possible definitions. But which is the right one?

a) a Turkish salamander
b) a newly-discovered Australian insect
c) a galette with added cheese, seasoned with comfrey
d) a casserole of leftovers tossed together
e) the caustic rant of a curmudgeon

You can find the answer HERE at M-W or HERE at Lexico

Have fun using it!