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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed May 01, 2013 10:47 pm

• gauche •

Pronunciation: gosh • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Awkward, clumsy, tactless, lacking in grace.

Notes: Today's Good Word is used so rarely it hasn't even lost its French spelling. In French, AU is pronounced [o], CH sounds like English [sh], and all final Es are silent. Perhaps it explains the rather, well, gauche adverb, gauchely, and two nouns, gaucheness and gaucherie, of which the latter is clearly the lovelier.

In Play: Of course it is very gauche to drool on your lobster at the dinner table, but other examples of gaucherie may occur at table: "I thought it very gauche of Philippa Bird to pick her nose at the dinner table tonight, didn't you?" Is that all she did? Questions are also apt to be gauche: "It was very gauche of you to ask the duchess her age tonight, Mortimer."

Word History: Borrowed from French gauche "left", which replaced Old French sinistre in the 15th century. The French word gauche may have come from Old High German welc "soft, languid, weak" whence German welk "withered, faded, languid", but no one seems to know for sure. The ambiguity of English right is no coincidence; the right-handed majority has historically associated its preferred hand with correctness and righteousness, while presuming something wrong with the left. The Latin word for right, dexter, is the source of dexterous. Adroit comes from the French phrase à droit "to the right". On the other hand (so to speak), not only does today's word reflect the left-handed prejudice, but the same is true of sinister, which comes from the earlier Old French word meaning "left" mentioned above. Indeed, even today some of us call a dubious remark a "left-handed" compliment".
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Grand Panjandrum
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Re: Gauche

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu May 02, 2013 11:43 am

And all the other connotations of left-handedness as
far back as the Judge Ehud in the Bible's book of Judges
who slips past the guard with his blade over his right
hip where no one would ever look for it.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Re: Gauche

Postby Slava » Thu May 02, 2013 2:17 pm

On a more pleasant note, we do have La Rive Gauche in Paris.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

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