Origins and meanings of words – January 2011

A mixed bag of words this month, words that I have genuinely come across in my work or personal life over the last few weeks, would you believe!

Motley -Made up of a variety of elements, the traditional multi-coloured costume of the jester or harlequin

Proselytise – The act of attempting to convert people to another opinion or religion. The word proselytize is derived ultimately from the Greek language prefix ‘πρός’ (toward) and the verb ‘ηλυτος’ (went) (from Wikipedia).

Syncope – sounds like “sing-cup-ee”) is the medical term for fainting, a sudden, usually temporary, loss of consciousness generally caused by insufficient oxygen in the brain either through cerebral hypoxia or through hypotension, but possibly for other reasons. A pre- or near-syncope is diagnosed if the individual can remember events during the loss of consciousness (from Wikipedia).

I think it’s really fascinating that so many different words can crop up in unexpected circumstances. I usually try to remember them, so that I can look them up (if I haven’t come across them before) and share them with yo.



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