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ephemeral

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ephemeral

Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Sep 06, 2005 2:47 pm

For the obvious reasons, seeing or hearing this GWotD always fills me with an emotion, the bittersweet nature of which I find better expressed by the Swedish «vemod», than by its English counterpart «sadness»....

Henri

• ephemeral •

Pronunciation: e-fe-mê-rêl • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1.
Lasting one day only. 2. Very short-lived [-lajvd], fleeting, lasting extremely briefly.

Notes: Today's Good Word still pops up occasionally in its original sense. For example, insects that live for only a day are ephemeral insects, diseases that last but a day are ephemeral diseases, or you might suffer an ephemeral fever. The scientific name for a bad hair day is the ephemeral ague. Ephemerality is the noun and ephemerally, the adverb of this lovely adjective.

In Play: The most wide-spread use of the word is to refer to events of exceedingly short duration: "An ephemeral smile jostled her lips at his joke; her attention then quickly returned to the filet." This word is a good one because of its phonetic beauty and its reference to pleasant things that do not last long enough: "Her ephemeral romance with the president left her more lonely than famous."

Word History: This word is borrowed from Greek ephemeros "lasting a day, daily" from epi- "on" + hemera "day." The pronunciation really should be a far less lovely [ep-he-mê-rêl], so we have here a case where mispronunciation has resulted in an improvement. The Greek preposition epi "on" shares its origins with Latin ob "against" and Russian o(b) "about, around". Neither this root nor that of hemera seem to have made it to the Germanic languages.

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曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
M. Henri Day
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Postby Stargzer » Tue Sep 06, 2005 7:43 pm

A short work by a Founding Father who, because of his amourous reputation, should not only be considered the father of our country but also a good bit of modern France as well. :wink:

I. The Ephemera: An Emblem of Human Life
Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)
Regards//Larry

"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."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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Postby M. Henri Day » Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:17 pm

Spreading those genes (alleles) around (to use a metaphor which the progress of the science has made a bit outdated)....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
M. Henri Day
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1142
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Stockholm, SVERIGE


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