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ENNUI

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ENNUI

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:47 pm

• ennui •

Pronunciation: ahn-weeHear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)

Meaning: A chronic mental listlessness and disengagement caused by boring interactions with the people, places and things around you.

Notes: Ennui is a special kind of boredom that attacks people who know and have experienced everything in life—or think they have. It is a member of a large group of words borrowed so recently from French that they retain the French spelling and pronunciation: naive, attaché, aperitif, chic, risqué, to mention a few. (Apparently, there is nothing like ennui in the English-speaking world.) This word is so French that the adjective for it is also French: ennuyé (ennuyée if you are female) "bored out of your skull". You may use this noun as a verb if you mind your Is and Ys: ennuies, ennuied, ennuying [ahn-wee-ing].

In Play: Ennui is likely to attack the man or woman who has everything, and has done and seen everything: "Six months into retirement Jack Uzzi found the ennui unbearable and returned to his job as a parking meter attendant." Ennui is often the price of wealth: "Morris Bedda had 6 houses, 24 cars, two planes, a helicopter, a billion dollars, and more ennui than in all of France."

Word History: Today's Good Word started its life in ancient Rome as the Latin phrase mihi in odio est "I dislike" (literally "to me dissatisfaction is"). In Vulgar Latin, (which was not vulgar at all but just 'street' Latin) this phrase was squeezed into a verb, *inodiare "to make odious". Now, if you are a long-time subscriber, you know what French does with Latin words. Old French remolded the Latin verb into ennuyer and anoier, two spellings of the same verb meaning "to annoy or bore". Around 1275 Old English borrowed anoier as its anoien, which went on to become our annoy. But the other form remained in French to become what it is today, borrowed by English in the 18th century as ennui. (It was Chris Stewart and Kurt Bonifay who saved us from our ennui today by suggesting we look into this very Good–if French–Word.)
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Postby Perry » Sat Feb 03, 2007 3:00 pm

No ennui at the Alpha Agora, but it's a great word. It's funny, but come to think of this, I have had many more opportunities to use this word when speaking French, than when speaking English. There is plenty to do in French speaking countries. There just seems to be that supercilious disabussee (sp?) attitude in the French culture.

Perry might-have-started-a-war-now Dror
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Postby Stargzer » Sat Feb 03, 2007 4:48 pm

I don't think so. You wrote in English, so most wouldn't bother to read it. :) Any that did would see it as just another example of how déclassé we Anglophones are.



-----------------
Hmmm. What word were you looking for?

WordReference.com:

détromper
détromper v undeceive (honourer; respecter; tenir)
détromper v disabuse

disabuse:
disabuse v détromper


Last edited by Stargzer on Sat Feb 03, 2007 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Regards//Larry

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Postby Bailey » Sat Feb 03, 2007 5:02 pm

Perry wrote:No ennui at the Alpha Agora, but it's a great word. It's funny, but come to think of this, I have had many more opportunities to use this word when speaking French, than when speaking English. There is plenty to do in French speaking countries. There just seems to be that supercilious disabussee (sp?) attitude in the French culture.

Perry might-have-started-a-war-now Dror

perhaps there is more ennui in france? Or in French speaking?

mark better-denuded-than-deluded Bailey

Today is the first day of the rest of your life, Make the most of it...
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Postby gailr » Sat Feb 03, 2007 9:33 pm

I'd say something about ennui...but...sigh...
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Postby Ferrus » Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:54 am

A most recherché word.
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Postby Don » Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:39 am

Following is the beginning of Robert Benchley's satire, sixty years ago, of Dickens.

Christmas Afternoon

What an afternoon! Mr. Gummidge said that, in his estimation, there never had been such an afternoon since the world began, a sentiment which was heartily endorsed by Mrs. Gummidge and all the little Gummidges, not to mention the relatives who had come over from Jersey for the day.

In the first place, there was the ennui. And such an ennui as it was! A heavy, overpowering ennui, such as results from a participation in eight courses of steaming, gravied food, topping off with salted nuts which the little old spinster Gummidge from Oak Hill said she never knew when to stop eating -- and true enough she didn't -- a dragging devitalizing ennui, which left its victims strewn about the living-room in various attitudes of prostration suggestive of those of the petrified occupants in a newly unearthed Pompeiian dwelling; an ennui which carried with it a retinue of yawns, snarls and thinly veiled insults, and which ended in ruptures in the clan spirit serious enough to last throughout the glad new year . . .
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Postby Perry » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:52 am

Thanks for that. Benchley's My Ten Years in a Quandary is one of my favorite books. I love the essay where he explains that he can toddle along as well as the next guy, but he can't "guess that I'll be toddling along".
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."
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Postby Bailey » Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:48 pm

Der weltschmertz is the inevitable result of having too much leisure, people need a challenge to be invigorated,
To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization.

And

Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.

Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor.
Arnold Toynbee

I think extreme sports is a direct result of folks [boys] who are resisting our safe, artifical lives.

mark IMHO Bailey

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Postby Stargzer » Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:51 am

gailr wrote:I'd say something about ennui...but...sigh...


There may not be any ennui in the Alpha Agora, but there is a great lack of M. Henri ...
Regards//Larry

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Postby Perry » Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:22 am

Indeed!
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."
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