Saturday, March 19, 2005


There's a pretty terrific moment in time when one first meets a word, just as when one first meets a person, when one can appreciate the word on one's own terms. Hello, Mr. Eee-shee-oh-lay-ted. Aren't you dashing? I'll bet you have a particularly long definition, something abstract and multi-layered. Just look at the society you travel around with: sitting complacently on the page, modifying the word ocean and preceding the phrase motionless lightfoot guardians.

But there comes a time when imagination just doesn't suffice. One must venture bravely into the outside world (i.e. The American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd ed.) and prepare to meet the man behind Mr. Etiolated's ticking blue eyes. Further discovery has the potential to renew the semance, which, let's face it, hasn't really been very romantic thus far. Who knows? He might even be The One, able to stimulate one's language to unheard-of heights.
e·ti·o·late (ē'tē-ə-lāt') v., -lat·ed, -lat·ing, -lates. 1. Botany. To cause (a plant) to develop without chlorophyll by preventing exposure to sunlight. 2. a. To cause to appear pale and sickly: a face that was etiolated from years in prison. b. To make weak by stunting the growth or development of. v.intr. Botany. To become blanched or whitened, as when grown without sunlight.