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I Don't Feel Like Doing This Now...

January 30th, 2002 - 10:23 p.m.

I'm Currently Avoiding:

Errr...I don't feel like doing this now. I did, but now I don't so I won't and...blah. I took the day off to do some reading and I found out this evening that the thing I was worried about is now do a week later, so I'm stellar now. Ciao.

impromptu (adj. im-PRAHMP-too or im-PRAHMP-tyoo)

1 : made, done, or formed on the spur of the moment : improvised

2 : composed or uttered without previous preparation : extemporaneous

If you think that impromptu looks like a relative of prompt, you're right; both are ultimately derived from the Latin promere, meaning to bring forth, take out. Impromptu was borrowed from French, where it meant extemporaneously, but French speakers picked it up from the Latin phrase in promptu, a promere descendant meaning in readiness or at hand. There is also another, much rarer descendant of promere in English -- the noun promptuary, meaning a book of ready reference.

Rosetta stone (n. roh-ZEH-tuh-stohn)

1 : a black basalt stone found in 1799 that bears an

inscription in hieroglyphics, demotic characters, and Greek and is celebrated for having given the first clue to the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics

2 : one that gives a clue to understanding

We still use the word hieroglyphics for something difficult to decipher, but 200 years ago, the term was more literal -- it referred to an Egyptian writing system that was utterly unintelligible to modern man. So when an inscribed stone about the size of a coffee table was discovered in an Egyptian town called Rosetta (Rashid in Arabic), it changed the course of language history. The Rosetta stone, as it came to be called, held a key. Probably written by Egyptian priests in the 2nd century B.C., its hieroglyphic text repeated a text written in familiar Greek. As a result, Egyptologists were able to decipher the symbols. Today we also use Rosetta stone figuratively, as we have since the early 20th century, for other clue providers.

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