Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday 12

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy at the Bermuda Onion where you "can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. Feel free to get creative!

Ugh. I am having a lousy day, so I want to do something fun for at least a little while. I don't have No Place for a Lady here, so I am going to fall back on something I previously read -  Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawkin.

This doesn't have anything to do with words but I really liked this quote from the book ...

"As Mary Oliver has commented, however, all of [Ralph Waldo] Emerson's wildness was in his head" 

One word that I have always liked the sound of is anathema, which means someone or something intensely disliked, loathed or abhorrent (technically it used to mean a ban or curse solemnly pronounced by ecclesiastical authority and accompanied by excommunication of the person or denunciation of a doctrine.) It just has such a good sound.

For example, when discussing the chemical industries response to Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring... 

"The admixture of fable and science enraged some scientists as well, but the qualities that made the book anathema to them made it engaging to the general public. Certainly the 'shadow of death' that caused children to die within hours was excessive, but the book was no jeremiad, and Carson's prediction as to the eventual outcome of the uncontrolled use of these chemicals could not have been more convincing." 

jeremiad - a long, mournful complaint or a lamentation 


"Today the term neo-Luddite has a negative connotation, and is used as a term of opprobrium for one who fears technology and innovation, implying that the original Luddites were an ignorant mob intent on quashing progress. This is an unfair characterization; Luddites were artisans, highly skilled workers steeped in craft traditions who took great pride in the textiles they produced."

opprobrium - [uh-proh-bree-uhm] (this one just does not roll off the tongue the same way that anathema does) - meaning disgrace or reproach incurred by conduct considered outrageously shameful; infamy; harsh criticism; public disgrace. 


"The cri de coeur of environmentalists in Carson's time was the same as that of the Lancashire weavers, the same in the time of Emerson, the same as in the time of 2005 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai of Kenya. It can be summed up in a single word: life."

cri de coeur - French, literally, cry from the heart; a passionate outcry 

And for those who don't recognize the name ...  In 1977, Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental agency focused on planting trees, environmental conservation and women's rights. She was the first African woman to receive a Nobel Peace Prize and the first environmentalist to do so. She worked against the repressive government of former Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi, who called her "mad" and described her as a threat to Kenyan national security. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2011. Truly an amazing woman and a role-model. 

 Well - not my standard post, but hopefully interesting. 


  1. Opprobrium certainly is a mouthful! I know some French but didn't recognize the phrase cri de couer even though I knew 2 of the 3 words.

    1. I was terrible with French. I grew up hearing Spanish so French never made sense to me.

  2. I particularly like the sound of jeremiad, I shall have to find a use for it.


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