Are you beautiful or lovely-the difference

The definitions I am using from the 1959 Webster’s New World Dictionary come from a blog I subscribe to by CS Perryess. On should give credit where credit is due. He loves words and old dictionaries. These definitions are great for writers because writers need to be specific; the right word for the right reason.

I will compare words from the 1959 Webster’s New World Dictionary that Perryess cited to my 2000 American Heritage Dictionary.

Beautiful: 59 Webster says, “applied to that which gives the highest degree of pleasure to the senses or to the mind and suggests to the object of delight one’s conception of an ideal.” My 2000 Heritage says, “having beauty.” I think Webster wins here, though the Heritage definition of ‘beauty’ closely resembles the 59 Webster definition of ‘beautiful,’, but not with the succinct clarity of Webster.

Lovely: 59 Webster says, “applies to that which delights by inspiring affection or warm admiration.” My 2000 Heritage says, “Having pleasing or attractive qualities; beautiful.” Once again Webster has a more beautiful definition.

I pause here to say that I have the American Heritage Dictionary because-and I forget who-recommended this dictionary for writers. I am having second thoughts.

Moving on to . . .

Pretty: “implies a dainty, delicate or graceful quality in that which pleases and carries connotations of femininity or diminutiveness.” My 2000 heritage says, “Delightfully pretty or dainty.” Webster now up 3-0.

Comely: “applies to persons only and suggests a wholesome attractiveness of form and features rather than a high degree of beauty.” My Heritage says, “Pleasing in appearance; attractive.” I must say here is where Heritage, to be blunt, really sucks. Their definition is generic, non-specific, lacking any ‘definition’ in the definition. It is is blah. 4-0.

Fair: “suggests beauty that is fresh, bright or flawless and, when applied to persons, is used especially of complexion and features.” My Heritage says, “beautiful; lovely.”  Really? That’s it. That’s all you’ve got? Webster’s 5-0.

Yuck to American Heritage. I looked up ‘yuck’ in my Heritage Dictionary. It says, ” Used to express rejection or strong disgust.” Well they got one right.

What I find in the 59 Webster’s is clarity in language, a defined definition. What I find in my 200 Heritage is blandness, unimaginative language, lack of clarity.

I used my Heritage from time to time on my e-novels on Amazon.

But I will be buying a new dictionary today.

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What is the Difference Between Someone or Somebody

Writers need to be precise whether writing fiction or non-fiction. There are many words whose definition is so subtle that the wrong word can throw off the sentence.

So in working on my e-novel yesterday I stopped myself trying to decide whether to use ‘someone’ or ‘somebody’ and thought to see which is proper in the context of my sentence.

I checked six books on language usage, books that discussed problem words and expressions, the which word when type of books. There was no mention of either word I was looking for. I checked the dictionary and found either word is okay, they are interchangeable.

If they are interchangeable then why do we have two words? Can’t we eliminate one or the other. If they mean the same thing then one must go.

But wait I said to myself. Check the Internet.

One site confirmed they are interchangeable, but that someone is five times more popular in usage than somebody. Fewer syllables, easier to use. But one site is not conclusive and how do I know someone is five times more popular. What is their source.

Another site said the following: ‘Someone’ is used if you are in a location where there are many people around, but you don’t know whom you’re referring to. Sounds confusing? To break it down, if used in a sentence ‘“ ‘Someone has left the room and started screaming loudly’ it means you don’t know exactly who left the room with all the people around.

‘Somebody’ is used if you are in a location and you are referring to a person with a slight importance. For example, ‘Somebody has left the room and started screaming loudly.’ The use of ‘somebody’ is to refer to the person whom you possibly know but unknown in the current situation.

Huh?

Again the source is not known. From where do they get that definition, especially when every other website or grammar book says they are interchangeable.

Does anybody know the answer. Or is it ‘Does anyone know . . .’

Okay let me grab a book

If somebody, or anybody, is interested in my e-books then anyone, even someone, can click and learn more

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CAN YOU FETCH A FETCHING

This post was posted from a previous incarnation of my writing blog.

Of late, since I seem to have nothing better to do, I became immersed  in the odd relationship between fetch and fetching.

I associate the word ‘fetch’ with dogs. When playing catch with a dog and a stick or ball is thrown the owner yells, “Go fetch!” I have heard this phrase many times, though in truth the dog knows to go fetch; he or she does not have to be told. They love to fetch.

I am also aware that ‘fetch’ can imply what something costs, though this is a somewhat archaic usage. I have not heard, “It fetched a good price” in a long time. So let us stick to ‘fetch’ defined as retrieving, to grab, seize, catch, and so on.

Okay, now we come to the word fetching. It means charming, enchanting, alluring, captivating, and is most used in describing a woman, or at least it once was, as in “She has a fetching appearance.” It was once a way of saying, “Man she’s hot!” And that phrase once meant something else. But anyway, how do we get from a dog fetching to a comely woman? How do we associate a dog with a cute woman? 

I know chauvinistic men would like a woman to fetch them a beer on demand, but that is not me. I can fetch my own thank you.

Was there something sinister behind the similarity of the two words, some wordsmith conspiracy to layer an insult to women, that they were dogs?  I had to uncover the truth.

I went to a well known establishment that provides  haircuts, or styling if you will, to men; the establishment, a national one that has fetching young ladies that cut your hair, a cut that fetch’s a good price mind you. I posed the question to the young woman cutting my hair about fetch and fetching. Leave it to a woman to figure it out.

She cut to the heart of the matter with the quickness of the snip of a scissor. “Fetch means the woman is worth fetching.”

I had to laugh, though I felt like a dog for thinking there was some conspiracy. I must refrain from saying a terrible pun like offering a beautiful diamond ring will fetch the woman.  That would be improper. Because you see, it is the woman tossing the ball or stick and the man, the dog that he is, will fetch it. And that is because the woman is so fetching the man can not resist.

If you would like to fetch on of my e-books, you can grab one here.

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Seven insults not to say to a woman

  1. Whipperginnie. An abusive name for a woman used in the 1600’s, it was the equivalent of a derogatory name for a man-snippersnapper, and taking the whipper part of the first word and adding it to the male name you get whippersnapper, an insulting term for a male that has lasted for centuries. My uncle called me a whippersnapper often when I was a child. I thought it meant I was smart as a whip. Now I know better. 
  2. Wallydraigle is a worthless slovenly woman. No offense to men named Wally, but wally is a term insulting somebody’s intelligence or common sense.
  3. Taw-Bess is a slut, a slattern. I have no idea who Bess was, but she was either very bad, or very good. 
  4. Tirliry-Puffkin is light-headed woman, a flighty woman, a flirt.
  5. Daggle-Tail came about from a woman’s garments that were dirtied from being trailed over wet ground, therefore she was a untidy woman, another slut or slattern. Daggle is a term that means to drag through the mud. The Tail I will let you figure out.
  6. Drassock is a drab, untidy woman. Bonus word-Drosell is another word for slut or hussy.
  7. Bronstrops is  prostitute. I think it may be fair to say a bronstrop is a professional drosell and I mean no offense to either.

These words come from the British Isles and were used centuries ago. It shows how language changes and thinking that, you wonder how many words we currently use will be lost centuries from now. There a couple of good words to call a woman of course. And they come from the book that I got these words and definitions from. The book is Poplollies and Bellibones.

Poplolly is a little darling, a female favorite, special loved one, or mistress (but not a bronstrop or drosell)

Bellibone is a lovely maiden, a pretty lass. It is anglicized from the French belle et bonne.

When you look at the seven uncomplimentary names, humorous as they sound, they are harsher than poplolly and Bellibone, both of which have a lovely sound to them. Perhaps if a word sounds bad, it is and if it sounds good, it is.

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