of the Week
word or phrase to add to your army.
Before there were drugstores, such as Walgreen's or Rite-Aid or CVS, there were apothecaries (uh-pah-thi-care-ez). Before pharmacists, there were apothecaries.
Apothecaries were small shops filled with remedies and elixirs and sold to people to help heal them.
Apothecaries were also the people who made the remedies and dispensed them. This is kind of confusing because it is the name of a place and a person.
Many of the remedies, balms, and elixirs were homeopathic, meaning they were made from things in nature. The apothecary would take flowers, leaves, seeds, and herbs and turn them into natural medicine. I still use apothecary remedies, such as hibiscus tea for my blood pressure.
Gossamer (goss-a-mer) is a fine material that is created by many intricate spiderwebs. It is often seen in trees or stretched between plants, as in the photo above on the left. Gossamer is also used to describe any material, natural or man-made, that is lightweight, fine, delicate, and almost see-through. The mosquito above on the right could be described as having gossamer wings. Many fabrics, such as those used for wedding veils or as an overlay on wedding dresses, are also said to be gossamer.
Etymology (e-ti-mah-luh-gee) is a very important word that has a lot to do with this website. Etymology is the study of the origin and history of words. It is also a study of how words' meanings can change. It studies the words' language of origin, such as Latin or Hebrew.
Though some words are from ancient origins, every day, new words are "invented." Once they become common in our speech, they might even be added to a dictionary. An example of this would be hip-hop, which is a relatively new term to describe a type of music and dance.
Sometimes the meaning of words changes. For instance, dough used to mean the raw, unbaked goo that becomes bread or cookies. It now also refers to money. When this happens, it is called slang. Dough is a slang term for money.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, also known as the Brothers Grimm, are known for their fairytales, such as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. What you probably don't know is that they were also pioneers in etymology. They loved words even more than I do.
They were from Germany and lived from the mid-1700s to the mid-1800s, and compiled many books on language.
It is interesting to note that most of the original Grimm's fairy tales were fairly grim (dark and violent), however there is no proven etymology between the surname, Grimm, and the adjective, grim.
Below is an example of the etymology of VELCRO®.
I am Becky Lyn Rickman. I am a writer because I love words almost as much as I love the people in my life. I want to fill the world with magnificent words and then jump in and splash around in them. I live with Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy, my cats, but the only words they really love are "meat" and "gravy."