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PARADISE

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PARADISE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:59 pm

• paradise •


Pronunciation: pæ-rê-dais • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A place of surpassing beauty and happiness, an idealized perfect location. 2. (Christianity) Heaven. 3. The Garden of Eden, the abode of Adam and Eve according to the Book of Genesis.

Notes: We have a plethora of adjectives in the company of today's noun to choose from. They include paradisiac(al), paradisal, paradisean, paradisic(al). My spellchecker prefers the first of these, but I find the third somehow more appealing.

In Play: We all try to transform our homes and grounds into paradisean gardens: "Perry Winkle owns a large estate that his grounds-keepers turned into a garden paradise." Of course, paradise can be a state of mind, too: "Everywhere is paradise to Pete Moss so long as he is in the company of Heather Fields."

Word History: The history of today's Good Word provides an example of semantic amelioration, when a word over time comes to refer to something better than it did originally. The old Persian language, Avestan, had a noun pairidaeza- "a surrounding wall", composed of pairi- "around," and daeza- "wall". (The equivalent Greek form of the preposition pairi is the peri in perimeter.) Daeza- comes from the Indo-European root dheigh- "to mold, form, build", the same word that went into the making of figment. The Greek military historian Xenophon translated the word pairidaeza- into Greek as paradeisos. He used this word not to refer to the wall itself, but to the enormous private parks enclosed by walls, where Persian nobles loved to hunt. This Greek word was used in the Septuagint translation of Genesis to refer to the Garden of Eden, whence Old English eventually borrowed it around 1200. (We thank Daniel Obertance for suggesting this little bit of lexical paradise as a Good Word.)
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Re: PARADISE

Postby MTC » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:26 am

Paradise can wait as far as I am concerned. But then why am I the first to post?

About melioration, let's give equal time to "pejoration," its opposite. Interestingly, a prominent example of pejoration is the word "silly" which started out as OE "sely" meaning "happy, blissful, blessed, fortunate," and ended its semantic descent as "silly," meaning "foolish." So "paradise" began as "wall" and ascended to heaven, while "sely" started in a state of heavenly "bliss" and descended to being "silly." Is there a lesson in this semantic teeter totter?
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Re: PARADISE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:37 pm

You seem to usually be the first. At least when I
log on. Are you more concerned about Paradise
than the rest of us. Personally I am ready, but
really not in any hurry.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: PARADISE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:11 pm

Since I am an innate optimist, I will meliorate. In 17th century "let" meant to prohibit. Somewhere along the intricate pathways of British dynasties and rebels, the rebels won and overturned its meaning 180 degrees! Now if you let me do something, I have your permission. Of course, if you don't let me, this rebel optimist may do it anyway.
pl
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Re: PARADISE

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:05 pm

"Without let or hindrance" and "the tennis player hit a let ball" are survivors of the old meaning of let. The Apostle Paul, who wrote his letters in early 17th century English, wrote, cryptically to some of us, "Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,)..." (Romans 1:13 KJV)

Did you know the feminine form of brethren is cistern?

The Bible certainly calls the Garden of Eden paradise. The Persian word has come to mean the garden inside the wall. Jesus, who also spoke early 17th century English, said, "Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." - Luke 23:43 KJV. Paradise isn't actually much mentioned in the Bible. The Bible calls eternity by several names. My favorite name for Heaven is the Shekhinah, or dwelling place, of God.

Perry is ever the "cockeyed optimist". Mitzi Gaynor is my favorite "cockeyed optimist", from the movie version of South Pacific, arguably the greatest musical play and movie ever.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: PARADISE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:22 pm

I love "Shekinah" too: the "Presence" of God:
"I Am with you all days".
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: PARADISE

Postby MTC » Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:20 pm

I'm with you, Philip. South Pacific and Mitzi Gaynor are fabulous. Here's just one inspired stanza from "A Wonderful Guy:"

I'm as trite and as gay as a daisy in May,
A cliché comin' true!
I'm bromidic and bright
As a moon-happy night
Pourin' light on the dew!

And talk about a brilliant lyricist, Oscar Hammerstein! Wow!
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