The year is drawing to a close much more rapidly than I would like .. November’s almost over. I find it hard to believe how fast a year goes by. I’m almost getting used to the speed of indiviual weeks but months and years still leave me spun out trying to figure out how they passed with such great velocity. I think “oh I just wrote something the other day” and then realize it was a month ago. I think “I’ll get that typed up today” and then it’s time to head back to school to pick BoyGenius up for lunch or it’s already 3:20 and school’s almost done for the day … then it’s homework and dinner and laundry and bedtime and Coronation Street and all of a sudden it’s the next day already and Monday’s words aren’t getting out until Tuesday … or Wednesday … and my tea is getting cold … and it’s bed time again … and it’s been seven hours and fifteen days, since you took your love away … 🙂
But I digress. I words are funny. Many of them are “im-” or “in-” words and mean they’re NOT something or other. These are often confusing (I think so, anyway) as those suffixes sometimes mean ‘not’ or ‘non-‘ something but not always. And when they do illustrate a negation, the “root” word is not always able to be used as a word with the opposite meaning of the “in-” or “im-” word. Think about it … some more .. try it out on some words … again .. there you go. See?
Here are some of my favourite I words: impromptu, infidel, ilk, imbibe, infer, iota, intrepid, idiom and integrity.
impromptu ~ prompted by the occasion rather than being planned in advance. I think we’ve all experienced an impromptu night out with friends or an impromptu dinner party … some of us have been put on the spot and had to give an impromptu speech, maybe. Sometimes these turn out to be the most fun and memorable occasions of all. And it’s a fun word to say, too.
infidel ~ a person who has no religious beliefs; an unbeliever, with respect to a particular religion, especially Christianity or Islam. It originates from Latin (surprised?) and its meaning in that language was disloyal or NOT (in-) faithful (-fidel). So can you be fidel? Not in English. In Spanish you can, especially in Cuba. 😉 In German to be fidel means to be in the best of moods, merry or jolly. Here you can only be an infidel.
ilk ~ type or kind — you know, people of THAT ilk. The first time I ever came across this word was on All My Children, way back in the 70s. It was uttered by none other than Erica Kane and I loved it from that moment on, endeavouring to use it whenever possible. It’s not a word that is easily voiced in everyday conversation. It’s one of the ‘cattiest’ words I know.
imbibe ~ to drink; to receive and absorb into the mind; to absorb or take in as if by drinking. I always feel better about imbibing a few libations than I do about downing a few drinks. And, if I’m with friends, I can imbibe information and ideas at the same time I’m imbibing red wine or Weissbier! How cool is that!!?!?
infer ~ to deduce or conclude (information) from evidence and reasoning rather than from explicit statements; to surmise; to lead to as a consequence or conclusion. [Infer is often confused with imply. Don’t do it. If you are speaking or writing, you might imply something … if you are listening or watching or reading, you might infer something.] “I inferred that those girls were making fun of me because they kept looking over at me and giggling.” The last little snippet of definition above means that if you see a finished Lego set at my house you infer that there must have been a Lego builder; if you see thick black smoke, you infer there is a fire.
iota ~ it’s the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet and when used as an English word it means a very small amount or a bit. I love it for the way it sounds, the way it looks and the way it’s spelled (which means that when you’re playing Scrabble or Words With Friends and you’ve got 7 effen vowels you might be able to find an open T and make a real live word!).
intrepid ~ resolutely courageous; fearless. I like this word. I like the idea of this word. “He was an intrepid explorer!” could be said about many a 3 or 4 year old checking out all the climbing equipment at the playground. I would like to be thought of as intrepid. I would like to live my life intrepidly. I enjoy the fact that this is an “in-” word whose root word can actually be used and does mean what it should: to be trepid is to be anxious or timid.
idiom/idiomatic ~ a speech form or an expression of a given language that is peculiar to itself grammatically or cannot be understood from the individual meanings of its elements; the specific grammatical, syntactic, and structural character of a given language; regional speech or dialect. If all of that just confused you, think of it this way: slang; common usage; the way a native speaker of a given language speaks; phrases we use that don’t actually mean what the individual words would have you believe (eg.: the lights are on but nobody’s home; to come into your own; as dumb as a sack of hammers). Idioms are fun and if you can speak a language at least somewhat idiomatically you will get much more out of foreign travels than if you are pulling sentences out of a phrase book.
integrity ~ I think when we hear this word we often jump right to the meaning that points at adherance to a strict moral or ethical code. I like “the state of being unimpaired; soundness and the quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness” just as well, if not even better. I like to hear talk about preserving the integrity of an old building, maintaining the integrity of a plan or idea.
So there you have it. I haven’t forgotten you, dear readers. I haven’t given up. I haven’t stopped thinking. I’m still here. Hope you are as well.