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PARAPHERNALIA

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PARAPHERNALIA

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:08 pm

• paraphernalia •


Pronunciation: pæ-rê-fêr-nay-lyê • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)

Meaning: 1. (Law) That property of a woman that does not pass to her husband by marriage, but remains her own. 2. Personal belongings, your things–clothing, jewelry, accessories. 3. Equipment required by a certain profession or activity, such as sound, mountain-climbing, or baseball paraphernalia.

Notes: Although many English-speakers have given up on preserving the second R in this Good Word, we think it deserves further consideration. Those of us who pronounce Rs at the end of syllables should pronounce this one. Pronounce it or not, it must be included in the correct spelling of this word. However, you do not have to worry about related words: this one is an orphan with no adjectives or verbs derived from it.

In Play: The implication of the second and third senses of today's word is that paraphernalia is equipment supporting some activity: "Rhonda Block considered her toy boy just another part of her traveling paraphernalia." More commonly this word is used today to refer to the tools of some activity: "Lacie Shortz considered class, professors, and books the paraphernalia of the education system to be used to enrich sorority life."

Word History: The Latin word paraphernalia, which English simply confiscated on one of its raids of that language, meant "of or related to the parapherna". Parapherna was a Greek word made up of para "beyond" + pherne "dowry" and referred to a bride's property beyond her dowry. The Greek root pher-, as in pherein "to carry", comes from PIE bher-/bhor- "carry, bring" and so fits a word meaning what a woman brings to a marriage. But it also turns up in amphora, from amphi "both sides" + phoreus "bearer", the large oval containers with two handles on either side the Greeks used for transporting goods. PIE bher-/bhor- came through the Germanic languages to English as bear which, with the suffix -ing later developed into bring, the same meaning implicit in parapherna. (Today we thank Kathy Garrett for suggesting a word with such interesting historical paraphernalia as today's Good Word.)
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Re: PARAPHERNALIA

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:34 pm

Words like this one make me realize how much I don't know.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: PARAPHERNALIA

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:22 pm

I've heard and used the word a lot, but didn't grasp the specialized equipment usage. I usually consider it as equivalent to miscellaneous stuff.
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Re: PARAPHERNALIA

Postby MTC » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:01 am

"Paraphernalia" is often heard in the phrase "drug paraphrenalia," a fact which bellows for attention, yet about which Dr. G and the group appear oddly unaware . A Google search under "paraphernalia" results in 12,600,000 hits, while a search under "drug paraphernalia" yields 4,650,000 hits, almost 40% of the total. "Baseball paraphrenalia" and "mountain climbing paraphernalia," the well-scrubbed usage examples given by Dr. Goodword get only 1,060,000 and 842,000 hits respectively, less than one quarter of the hits for "drug paraphernalia." These results suggest the word "paraphernalia" is a window into a major social problem, and perhaps "drug paraphernalia" is more "American" than baseball. But forget that. Purely from the standpoint of usage in a discussion of "paraphernalia," "drug parphernalia" should not be overlooked or bypassed. On the Goodword site sometimes you feel as if you have entered a Sunday School or a sheltered workshop where controversy and unpleasantness are avoided.

What I find most interesting about the word "paraphernalia"
is its historical origin in the law. Today the concept of "separate property" has replaced "dowry" and "paraphernalia." Still, I suspect many Family Lawyers have never heard the expression.
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Re: PARAPHERNALIA

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Dec 02, 2012 6:00 pm

MTC noted "On the Goodword site sometimes you feel as if you have entered a Sunday School or a sheltered workshop..."

I am trying to make some comment because a comment seems needed. I'm just not sure what is needed. Given the case in point, MTC's frequency-Googling for types of Paraphernalia, I see a worthwhile task of word-use-analysis that is quite eye opening. I value this report and am disturbed by it. Almost everyone has an ostrich-head-in-the-sand defense about inconvenient truths. On the other hand, I am not sure that The Good Doctor should be a social analyst in his Goodword role.

A good teacher leaves a lot of work as exercises for the student. I think we do a pretty good job of wringing relevant truths from a Goodword in our conversation. Sometimes we get sidetracked. Sometimes we get silly. Sometimes we get trite. On some occasions we get annoying. On the whole, I find myself gaining and growing. It is people like MTC who add immeasurably to the value of this forum.

As for the Sunday School comment: MTC needs to sit in on some of our ABF classes. (For years we have been trying to change the name of Sunday School and the name of the day is Adult Bible Fellowship.) In our classes we probe deep, entertain opposing ideas, strive for relevance, and refrain from strangling each other. To my knowledge, I have never been to a "sheltered workshop" and wouldn't recognize one if I saw it. Amongst Christian "workshops", I see seminars like "Woman Thou art Loosed" led by Bishop Jakes. Here we see productive discussion about the role of women in society from the truly enlightened viewpoint that women are equal to, and in many cases better than, men. We have serious conferences on whether one can be a Creationist and a Evolutionist at the same time. The tentative answer is maybe yes. There is a whole bunch of thinking people around who spend a lot of quality time in conference on many issues.

My great disappointment is that the political, military and economic realms have no true dialogue. The various parties are as entrenched as Calvinism vs. Arminianism was in earlier religious debate. And even earlier, just how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

My final thought is, I am honored and awed that I can participate in this forum.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: PARAPHERNALIA

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Dec 02, 2012 7:36 pm

I was also impressed by MTC's use of Google, and shall keep that in mind. I have already discovered that Google is now so advanced you can enter unlikely questions, quotes, or problems and find multiple answers.

I agree the Doc doesn't need to delve into sociology, but I think MTC's point was another meaning should be added because of the preponderance of data on drug paraphernalia. Sometimes this place is like my best school courses, where I came out certain there were ten more books I should have read before I even started college.
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Re: PARAPHERNALIA

Postby Slava » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:05 pm

I'm going to defend the Good Doctor on this one. I believe his #3 definition covers what MTC proposes. It doesn't mention drugs in particular, but refers to "a certain profession or activity", which would seem to cover pretty much everything. Perhaps the addition of ", etc." at the end of the sentence would have made this clearer.

Remember folks, the Word of the Day is also sent out by e-mail to a lot of people. If the mention of drugs is not absolutely necessary, it is probably better left out, no?
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Re: PARAPHERNALIA

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:15 pm

...including many schools. When I get too risque, I get pounded by teachers--and some moms. I guess because I keep it extra clean I attract schools and teachers. Maybe I would get a different clientele if expanded a bit.
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Re: PARAPHERNALIA

Postby Audiendus » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:51 pm

MTC wrote:"Paraphernalia" is often heard in the phrase "drug paraphrenalia,"

I like the typo. Drugs can drive you "out of your mind"...
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Re: PARAPHERNALIA

Postby MTC » Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:24 am

Yes, about "paraphrenalia" you could say I was "beside myself."

But returning to the subject, after reading your thoughtful comments I feel as I always do after venting--somewhat guilty. I hope there was more light than heat. At the very least a valuable issue was exposed for discussion. And that brings me to the point. Shouldn't any subject that comes up in a Goodword post be subject to free, unfettered discussion? From my First Amendment perspective the answer to the rhetorical question can only be "yes." It came as a revelation (though in retrospect it shouldn't) that the Goodword goes out to classooms where little Billy may be listening. Don't talk about, don't even say the "D" word for God's sake! He might get the wrong idea. (Slava's view) This puts what should be adult, free-ranging discussions about any word served up , if not in a straight jacket, at least in a Christmas stocking.

Whether I can live with the confinement remains to be seen. So far our discussions have been rewarding, certainly hard to give up. Regardless the outcome, happy holidays to you all.
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Re: PARAPHERNALIA

Postby Slava » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:48 am

MTC, I did not mean to imply that we could not discuss the word on the Agora. Just that taking the Dr. to task for not putting in every possibility is not necessary. The daily word is one thing, the Agora another.
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