Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt
So when I was maybe 19 or so, this kid who was 18 informed me that he thought I was the epitome of pulchritude.
Epitome I understood. Pulchritude? Nope. Never heard that one before. So without reacting in any way because I didn’t want to show my ignorance, I went and looked it up.
Does is sound like something you would want someone to say about you? It didn’t to me, either.
To my surprise, it means beauty. Really? How could such an unattractive word mean that?
But it does. Comes from the Latin root pulcher, which means, well, beautiful.
Don’t worry, I didn’t get the big head. The guy was just working on his vocabulary, I think, and anyway he wasn’t my kind of heartthrob. He was also very busy squiring several other pulchritudinous young ladies around campus.
Anyway, this is supposed to be about epitome. I’ve always like that word. I like that each syllable is pronounced. Ee-pit-oh-me. Comes from the Greek epitemnein, which means to cut short. According to Merriam-Webster, it first appeared as epitome in print around 1520.
When I googled for an image for epitome, I got a whole slew of pictures of a car called a Laraki, whose links I was not allowed to reproduce. Then I found this, which was billed as the epitome of elegance. Yes. I can see that.
So how did it come to mean the tiptop example of anything? Well, originally it meant quite literally to summarize something by picking out only the highlights, as in a critique of a book or play. A critic, for instance, would mention only the best part, using it as a come-on for people to read a book or see a play or hear a piece of music or view a work of art. And so it morphed into the way we use it now. An example of the very best.
For those of you who dislike this sort of academic wandering into etymology, I do apologize. I can’t help it. I was an English teacher. I love words.
I found a new one today in my search for all this fascinating information. Foozle. It means to manage or play awkwardly. He foozled that play and lost the touchdown. She foozled her routine on the floor competition and lost the gold medal in gymnastics.
Gotta love a word like that. Foozle. Say it ten times in a row, fast. If you’re not laughing, you foozled it.