Words, words, words. . .yes,

There are certain words that are duplicitous. Some of these are reversible: e.g. to rent, which may mean to borrow or to loan. The renter who rents an apartment may be the occupant of the place who lives there or the owner of the place who doesn't live there.

Host and guest are cognates that are also counterrelational; one visits, the other receives. But, then, they meet and have a good visit. Hotel and hospital are also etymologically cognates, and so is hostel; they all host visiting guests. Onion and union are also cognates.

Other duplicitous words are two-pronged. Anxious may mean eager or worried; and tired may mean fatigued or bored. Funny is a funny word because it can mean peculiar or laughter inducing; it is a peculiar word in this respect but also, isn't it funny, ha, ha, that it can mean both?

Here are some of my favorite words: spunky, feisty, sassy.

I also like the word sphygmomanometer; it sounds like the thing itself. There are two words in Italian that are much more descriptive than their counterparts in other languages I know: la muffa (mold) and zanzare (mosquitoes).

Grapefruit (citrus paradisi) was so named because it grows in clusters; it is also said that it was believed to resemble grapes in flavor.

Blackbirds are brown. Blackberries are red when they are green. Day and night together make a day.

T. Kaori Kitao, 06.14.04


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