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INSOUCIANCE

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INSOUCIANCE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:46 pm

• insouciance •


Pronunciation: in-su-see-êns • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Affected nonchalance, blithe indifference, emotional coolness.

Notes: Today's Good Word is so fresh from French that some still prefer to give it the French pronunciation: [æN-su-syahNs], where the vowels before the capital Ns are nasal vowels. This noun possesses all the beauty of the whispering breeze it sounds like. It becomes even more mellifluous than the adjective it is derived from (insouciant) by simply replacing the final [t] with an [s] sound. The adverb is insouciantly, should you need it.

In Play: Insouciance may be an indifference that borders on snobbery: "Reginald accepted his award with the aplomb and insouciance befitting the heroic figure he assumed himself to be." However, it may simply refer to a casually indifferent, unemotional attitude toward anything: "Madeleine had exhibited a consistent insouciance to religion since Mr. Wright, the assistant pastor at her church, ended their affair."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes, as mentioned above, quite recently from French. It is composed of in- "not" + souciant "troubling", the present participle of soucier "to disturb, trouble". Soucier is the result of a French drubbing of Latin sollicitare "to trouble, bother", itself borrowed by English as solicit. (Don't solicitors bother you?) Sollicitare seems to be the result of an earlier compound based on sol- "single, whole, complete" + citus "moved, summoned", the past participle of ciere "to move, stir, shake". Sol- is found in many English words borrowed from Latin and Romance languages: solid, solo, and solitary. Citus, of course, underlies cite and citation. (Today we must cite the one and only Nathan Fleming as the person who suggested this beautiful word for our Good Word series with complete insouciance.)
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Re: INSOUCIANCE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:04 pm

Not to offend anyone's sensibilities, but soliciter
reminds me of the dumb joke:

What do you have when you've got 10,000 solicitors
at the bottom of the sea?

Ans/ a good start.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: INSOUCIANCE

Postby MTC » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:22 pm

Insouciance has two contrasting personalities, one as effortless and buoyant as Fred Astaire, the other as studied and worldly as George Sanders. Either way it seems to me the golden age of insouciance has passed. Is an attitude of carefree indifference either real or affected even possible today? Insouciance requires style and class, words unknown in the age of reality T.V. More at home in the ballroom and the drawing room than the bathroom, insouciance is at best an endangered species. Like wit, insouciance seems to be on the way out, and we are the worse for it.

But not to be entirely pessimistic, I suppose insouciance may survive in diminished form in the smile of your teenager when asked if he did his homework, or in the voice of your broker when asked if he sold that stock before the closing bell. Oh well, who cares?
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Re: INSOUCIANCE

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:09 pm

MTC: Cheer up. As mankind moves from age to age, some things are gained and some things are lost. "Alles, was neu ist, ist nicht gut. Alles, was alt ist, ist nicht schlecht," may be transposed. Some of the new is good. You, others on this forum, and I enjoy and remember the insouciance of Fred Astaire and George Sanders. "They can't take that away from us." Remember the world is going to Hell in a hand-basket and it has always been so. Let's gather rosebuds while we may (Robert Herrick). There is a raft of things we can be thankful for this holiday season.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: INSOUCIANCE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:34 pm

STAY OUT OF MY ROSES! That's what we have florists for. I don't care if I still have a dozen or so in November. Plant a bush and gather your own rose buds. i thought rosebud was a sleigh, anyway, so why would you say rosebuds, plural?
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Re: INSOUCIANCE

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:04 am

Perry: Are you being cryptic, coy, or obtuse when you say, "I thought rosebud was a sleigh," or am I being dense? Please elucidate. As for rosebuds, that's what Robert Herrick said. Isn't rosebuds the plural of rosebud? My greatest concern was to cheer up MTC.
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Re: INSOUCIANCE

Postby MTC » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:27 am

I am uplifted, thanks to Philip.

But on the other side of the teeter totter, Perry whose only options are being "cryptic, coy or obtuse" has been pushed down. That won't do. When Perry referred to "sleigh" I believe he was alluding to the name of Kane's childhood sled in the classic movie Citizen Kane. This key should unlock Perry's joke. Is everything coming up roses, now?
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Re: INSOUCIANCE

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:22 pm

Some of you are way out of my league. Rosebud to sleigh from "Citizen Kane"! I didn't remember the plot. Google tells me that Rosebud is more than just a sleigh but a symbol of Kane's lost innocence as he moves from pure idealist to nasty mega-rich guy. Take that you nasty rich guys!
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Re: INSOUCIANCE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:12 pm

The clue to many, if not most, of my sidewise remarks may be found in one simple principle. If a word can be taken in multiple ways, I'm taking the other meaning.
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