or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Holly Would

A while back--a year ago, just about--I wrote about the word "abolishment" versus the much more common "abolition", and just now, in reading an article on Slate.com about Conservative Judaism, I found another, similar word:

The great game of Jewish evolvement has a clear pattern.

"Evolvement". How about that? I'd never heard it before, but of course I knew what it meant: it means "evolution", which is considerably commoner, and older, too, by about 200 years. ("Evolvement" dates from 1845, says the OED.) I like that there are the both of them, though. Enriches the language. (I had hoped to find a page that contains perhaps a complete list of such word pairs, but I don't think anyone has made one up: Googling "abolishment abolition evolvement evolution" mostly gives all kinds of junk listings. But at least that establishes that both "evolvement" and "abolishment" are valid English words.)


A co-worker named Holly left the company yesterday, so, as I said a few days ago, I made her a cake, and decorated it with royal-icing confections. And what do you suppose I made them to look like? Go on. Guess.

Holly leaves! Get it? Holly? Leaves?

Okay, so it's not the most sophisticated pun in the world, but still, a cake with a pun on it is a fun kind of cake. (Also, it was chocolate, with chocolate pudding in the middle and a nearly offensive quantity of very good chocolate buttercream frosting. And it was covered with bright green leaves and red holly berries, and was very attractive, before Holly ate--and this is not a lie--a quarter of it.)

I love the fact that a compound noun can also, in another context, be a complete subject-verb sentence in English. This is some language we got ourselves here.


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