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OFFBEAT

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OFFBEAT

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Aug 25, 2005 6:59 pm

• offbeat •

Pronunciation: ôf-beet • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, Adjective

Meaning: 1. [Noun] An unaccented beat in a musical measure, the upbeat. 2. [Adjective] Unusual, not conforming to conventions, oddball.

Notes: This good word comes with a family of nouns that have taken up adjective habits as they passed out of the world of music. The noun, upbeat, is used adjectivally in the sense of "happy, positive" while downbeat means "negative, unhappy". There are no regular derivations such as an adverb or noun for any of them, though offbeatness is used informally. (My spellchecker is frowning with its curly red line.)

In Play: Anytime you wish to describe something as individualistic in a slightly mysterious way, offbeat is probably the word you will need: "Lucy Lastik led an offbeat life that even her best friend, May O'Naise, felt uncomfortable with." Anything that doesn't fit the pattern is offbeat: "Rhoda Book produced several novels about an offbeat detective who lived in a train car and but started each day with a champagne breakfast."

Word History: Today's is another Good Word imported from the world of jazz musicians, alongside blues, hip, cool, swing, and many others. The beat of a piece of music, of course, is its rhythm. The word beat is an ancient member of the Indo-European vocabulary. In Russian it is bit' (beet') "hit, beat" and in French it is battre, where our word battery as in "assault and battery" came from. Of course, the part of the body the seemed to our ancestors to lend itself to beatings, the butt, draws its name from the same ultimate root.
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Postby tcward » Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:01 pm

Of course, the part of the body the seemed to our ancestors to lend itself to beatings, the butt, draws its name from the same ultimate root.


I guess I always presumed that butt was related to bottom and never thought any further...

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Postby Brazilian dude » Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:25 am

and but started each day with a champagne breakfast."

Don't be greedy. Just pick one.

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Postby KatyBr » Fri Aug 26, 2005 12:26 pm

pretty much syncopated........wouldn't you say?

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Postby M. Henri Day » Fri Aug 26, 2005 2:05 pm

Brazilian dude wrote:
and but started each day with a champagne breakfast."

Don't be greedy. Just pick one.


Anybody that starts the day with champagne and breakfast has already picked two....

Henri
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