Category: Word for Thought


gallivanting

What it means: To gallivant (alternative spellings galivant or galavant) means to gad about (wander) in search of diversion or pleasure, often in search of or with the opposite sex; to travel around with no other purpose than for pleasure; to flirt and play romantically.

This verb was introduced in the early nineteenth century and may have been a variant of gallant, whose adjective form meant “brave, noble, and chivalrous,” but which had begun to be used in verb form to mean “became a lover of or escorted someone.” Hmm!

Why I chose it: When we were talking about words-for-thought, my roomy suggested this whimsical and mellifluous addition for my blog. I ♥ it.

Did you know? There is a travel and adventure web series called “Galavanting.”

I’ll be gallivanting around this holiday season, getting some R&R from a busy year!

lackadaisical

What it means: lacking in interest, vitality, and purpose; listless or lethargic; lazy or indolent, in a dreamy way

From the mid-18th-century interjection lackadaisy, which means “alas, alack” (1748), an alteration of lack-a-day, from alack the day.  Hence, “given to crying ‘lack-a-day,’ vapidly sentimental.” Sense probably altered by influence of lax.

Why I chose it: It’s a such a musical word, for such a dreamy, dreary disposition.

random

What it means: adjective meaning without aim, pattern, or purpose; by chance; every member of a set having an equal probability of being chosen

“You begin Scrabble with a random selection of seven letter tiles.”   I ♥ Scrabble!

  • slang: something unexpectedly irrelevant but often amusing
    • “I watched this great movies last night; it was about…  Whoa, look at that squirrel!”
    • “Dude, random.”

From ME “succession, surge,” from Anglo-French randun (randon) “speed, violence,” from OF randir “to run, to gallop,” of Germanic origin (possibly from OHG rinnan “to run”)

Why I chose it: I dunno … I picked it at random.

whelm

What it means: to submerge; to cover completely; to surge over

From ME. welmen (or whelmen), perhaps a merging of OE hwelfan “to cast down” and helmian “to cover.” The cognate helm, of course, is the wheel or tiller to steer a ship; the use of whelm may have begun to describe the sinking of a ship.

Why I chose it: We use the word overwhelm pretty regularly.  Why not just whelm?  Seems like overkill to me (which is overkill for kill itself, ’cause let’s face it, once something is dead, it’s tough to kill it some more). I thought about this word because, well, I’m feeling a bit whelmed.  It’s a busy time, which is a very good thing!  But I’m getting a little tired and need to catch up on sleep.  You could say I’ve got that sinking feeling…  😉

dystopia

What it means: imagined future society characterized by misery, oppression, or squalor; opposite of utopia

The word is modified form of the neologism utopia, coined by Sir Thomas Moore in his book of that title completed in 1516. Dystopia was first seen in 1868, in the writings of J.S. Mill.

From Gk. dys– “bad, abnormal, difficult”  + utopia lit. “nowhere.”

Why I chose it: In a conversation about movies (what else?) with a friend and colleague, I was rattling off some of the films of Terry Gilliam, and I described Brazil (1985) as dystopian. Like the main character on her beloved show Bones, she uttered, “I don’t know what that means,” prompting a discussion of the term … and inspiring me to include it in this blog.

A dystopia often includes  an authoritarian or totalitarian form of government and may feature repressive social control systems. Examples of dystopian literature / film include Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-Four, A Clockwork Orange, Fahrenheit 451, Logan’s Run, and V for Vendetta, all featuring futures in which we would not want to find ourselves and offering insights into the paths that led humanity to these dire circumstances.

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