Three Word Wednesday
verb [ trans. ]
inflict harm in return for (an injury or wrong done to oneself or another) : his determination to avenge the murder of his brother | they are eager to avenge last year’s Super Bowl defeat.
• inflict such harm on behalf of (oneself or someone else previously wronged or harmed) : we must avenge our dead | she avenged herself after he broke off their engagement | the warrior swore he would be avenged on their prince.
ORIGIN late Middle English : from Old French avengier, from a- (from Latin ad ‘to’ ) + vengier, from Latin vindicare ‘vindicate.’
truly what something is said to be; authentic : each book is bound in genuine leather.
• (of a person, emotion, or action) sincere : she had no doubts as to whether Tom was genuine | a genuine attempt to delegate authority.
ORIGIN late 16th cent.(in the sense [natural or proper] ): from Latin genuinus, from genu ‘knee’ (with reference to the Roman custom of a father acknowledging paternity of a newborn child by placing it on his knee); later associated with genus ‘birth, race, stock.’
verb [ intrans. ]
1 walk for pleasure, typically without a definite route.
• (of a plant) put out long shoots and grow over walls or other plants.
2 talk or write at length in a confused or inconsequential way : he rambled on about his acting career.
a walk taken for pleasure, esp. in the countryside.
ORIGIN late Middle English (as a verb in sense 2) : probably related to Middle Dutch rammelen, used of animals in the sense ‘wander around in heat,’ also to the noun ram .
So here we have three completely different words, two from Latin and one probably from Middle Dutch. Two are verbs – one also with a noun definition – and one adjective. Picking three such random words as a writing prompt sets up a defined perimeter due to the types of usage required.
Ramble and Avenge are both action verbs while Genuine is a narrowly used adjective with limited noun patterns. I mean ‘The genuine tree he cut down was to avenge the highway ramble’ doesn’t make any sense. Yet language, particularly the English language in all its variations of spelling and pronunciation, has and continues to flourish precisely because of the propensity to borrow and take words from other languages and make them into normal everyday words.
Certainly it’s very obvious that the word ‘Amble’ [ORIGIN Middle English (originally denoting a horse’s gait): from Old French ambler, from Latin ambulare ‘to walk.’] to those that then saw the Middle Dutch word ‘Rammelen’ that by adding the letter R to amble would create a new word for the same activity. The thesaurus yields more words: saunter, wander, ramble, promenade, walk, go for a walk, take a walk; informal mosey, toddle, tootle; formal perambulate.
All you’re doing is walking, Why does English need so many words for a single activity? A single activity originally revolving around animals. Do you today take your dog for an amble? Or is a perambulate down the block? Communication between cultures depends on accurate translations and definitions but so many activities and mores are not transferable across societies. Which is why poetry is difficult if not impossible to translate. Not because the words are not available, although often they are not; it’s because the concepts, the emotion inherent in poetry is the result of the poet’s experiences.
years have melted into a single memory
physics in conflict with experience
time, that crushing force
not the second by second erosion of both body and mind
the deterioration of hope
ramble through the weedy plot
here a bloom, a brilliant marker
a moment above
an emotion seared into neurons
the vow to avenge a slight, hurt, pain, fear
of being… something less than perfect
in an instant
teeth savoring the genuine cinnamon roll
flavor of childhood
By Rose D. Kaye, March 4th, 2009