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Bah. More Later, Pictures = Fun

March 10th, 2002 - 6:09 a.m.

I'm Currently Avoiding:

Hmm. Has it really been two days since I updated? Must be, since that's what the little thing says. I don't have time now to fiddle with this. I'll tell you about the Flower Show and babysitting later.

assuage (v. uh-SWAYJ)

1 : to lessen the intensity of (something that pains or distresses) : ease

2 : pacify, quiet

3 : to put an end to by satisfying : appease, quench

Have you ever pacified or soothed a squalling child with a sweet treat? Then you have acted out the etymology of assuage. Scholars assume that word derives from a Vulgar Latin term, assuaviare, itself a composite of the prefix ad- plus the Latin suavis, meaning sweet, pleasant, or agreeable. (Suavis is also the source of the adjective suave.) To assuage is to sweeten or make agreeable or tolerable, but it is far from the only English word for relieving or softening something difficult. Others include allay, alleviate, and mitigate. Allay applies to any effective calming, soothing, quieting, or softening, while alleviate applies more specifically to the temporary lightening of pain, distress, or difficulty. Mitigate suggests moderating or countering the force or intensity of something painful.

Apollonian (adj. ap-uh-LOH-nee-un)

1 : of, relating to, or resembling the god Apollo

2 : harmonious, measured, ordered, or balanced in character

To the ancient Greeks, Apollo represented the perfection of youthful manhood. He was the god of music, poetry, archery, prophecy, and healing, among other things. English speakers began using the adjective Apollonian for someone who resembled Apollo in physical beauty or talent as long ago as 1663. Due partly to the work of Nietzsche and other German scholars, we now associate Apollo with the forces of calm rationality (as opposed to the Dionysian forces, which are instinctive, frenzied, and uninhibited). Despite these associations, Apollo himself was not always a force of reason -- he had a terrible temper and a lust for young girls as well.

P.S. Pictures are fun.



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