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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:49 pm

• hanker •

Pronunciation: Verb, intransitive • Hear it!

Part of Speech: hæng-kê(r)

Meaning: (US slang) To moderately desire, to want; to long for.

Notes: Today's Good Word is an intransitive verb which means that you cannot hanker anything. Rather, like most intransitive verbs, hanker must be used with a preposition, in this case for; you hanker for something. Even though it is a borrowing (see Word History), this word behaves like a native English verb: hankers, hankered, hankering, with the last serving also as the noun (to have a hankering for).

In Play: Hankering is all about deep-seated desire: "I can eat broccoli but I don't hanker for any right now." It does not imply a strong desire but it often refers to a persistent one: "I could still get into my high school bikini if I didn't have this chronic hankering for chocolate ice cream."

Word History: Today's slang word appears to have come from a Dutch dialectal verb, hankeren, with the same meaning. The Proto-Indo-European root underlying it is konk-/kenk "to hang", also the source of English hang and hinge. This root turns up most frequently in Germanic languages like German, Dutch, and English but there is evidence of it in Latin cunctari "to delay", the origin of English cunctation "delay, procrastination". (I am sure we have no hankering to delay expressing our gratitude to Tonia Koularia, author of Aerobic Poetry, for suggesting today's Good Word.)
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Postby Perry » Sat Mar 31, 2007 10:19 pm

Bailey hankers for some short words to make it into So what's the good word?.
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."

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Postby Stargzer » Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:00 am

On stage one night in Annapolis, folk musician Tom Rush was talking about how he had to learn a new way of talking when he moved from New England to Moose, Wyoming. Astute listeners would have heard the title of one of his early hits, a song written by Joni Mitchell, in the phrase "I got a hankerin' to be moseyin'."

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
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