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UPSTART

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UPSTART

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:59 pm

• upstart •


Pronunciation: êp-stahrt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A parvenu, someone who has suddenly risen to prominence. 2. A brash, presumptuous, self-important young person; a whippersnapper.

Notes: Today's Good Word is a true lexical orphan, a word with no derivational relatives. It may be used, as it stands, as a verb: "As from a forest-brake Upstarts a glistering snake" (Wordsworth, Ode. The Morning Of The Day Appointed For A General Thanksgiving, 1816). It may also function as an adjective, as an upstart nuclear power.

In Play: Today's word carries a slight pejorative taint: "That upstart Bea Heine keeps stepping on the toes of senior members of the firm." Senior members of most firms expect an upstart to stand on their shoulders. An upstart may also be simply a brash, presumptuous person: "Tiffany Lampe is such an upstart: she doesn't know the difference between the new money that she has and old money."

Word History: Today's Good Word is obviously the preposition up + the verb start, but start in the sense that went into the making of startle, "to spring forth or leap up suddenly". In fact, upstartle is listed in the Oxford English Dictionary. Originally, order didn't matter: start-up had the same sense. Start came into English with this meaning ("to spring forth or leap up suddenly"); the sense of "to begin" came later. Up comes from Old English uppe. It has cousins everywhere: Danish and Dutch op, German auf "up"—all from PIE root upo "up from below". This is how Greek hypo "under, below" and Latin sub "under" could come from the same source. (Chris Stewart of South Africa is no upstart at alphaDictionary; he has been a contributor of such good Good Words for at least a decade,)
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Re: UPSTART

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:45 pm

Question: can only youth be upstarts? What about a senior company board member who has become something of a churlish curmudgeon and who pipes up with off the wall suggestions at most meetings. Wouldn't he also be an upstart?
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Re: UPSTART

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:55 am

Perry, as I read your example of an older upstart, I thought at first you were talking about some Baptist deacons I have known.
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Re: UPSTART

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:00 pm

At one time we had the world's largest stockyards located
here, then they moved on, and now beef are processed
more where they are raised. At any rate, children of
stockyards workers moved to the west end of the city, to
newly created baby-boomer suburbs and were considered
"upstarts" and called "whippersnappers" in the local media
when I was growing up.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: UPSTART

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:21 pm

I am guessing Luke is from Omaha. I have spent many a day downwind of the stockyards back when they were more active. I worked for my employer at Offutt AFB.
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Re: UPSTART

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:23 pm

On refletion, Perry, I do not think an old geezer can be an upstart. We don't have the energy.
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Re: UPSTART

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:32 am

Philip Hudson wrote:[i]I am guessing Luke is from Omaha. I have spent many a day downwind of the stockyards back when they were more active. I worked for my employer at Offutt AFB.[/i]



Yup. You guessed it: at the east end of the Land of the Flat
Water, the Platte River.
The stockyards are a thing of the past - just a memory.
The Stockyard Exchange Bldg is now upscale condos and things
of that nature. South Omaha, just north of Offutt AFB is now
very highly Hispanic. Signs and advertisements are all
in Spanish. The yards themselves are gone. I lived for
a while just north of them back in the day, and when one
was Upwind it was as bad as downwind.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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