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DOUR

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DOUR

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:33 pm

• dour •


Pronunciation: dæ-wêr, dur • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Serious, stern, forbidding. 2. Determined, obstinate.

Notes: Today's Good Word has two pronunciations that lead to some confusion. [dæwêr] is probably preferred now in the US, though [dur] is preferred in Britain. However you pronounce the stem, adverb is dourly and the noun, dourness.

In Play: Today's word can describe a facial expression: "The dour look on the face of Bea Heine made it clear that she was displeased with our antics." It is also reflective of attitude: "Bea's dour resistance to any innovation in the office routine made her a prime candidate for promotion."

Word History: Exactly where today's word comes from is unclear. It probably came from Middle Irish dúr, a word related to Latin durus "hard". The root of this word appears in many words borrowed from Latin and French, such as durable, during, and endure. The PIE root underlying these words, deru-/dru "hard, firm" is also responsible for Russian derevo "tree, wood", as well as Greek dendron "tree", a word seen in our "red tree", the rhododendron. The Latin word druides "druids" is probably a Celtic reduction of this root + wid- "to see", originally referring to "strong seers", the caste of Druid priests. (Which reminds me of the never dour Susan Lister, a strong seer of Good Words who spotted and recommended this one as a candidate for our series.)
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Re: DOUR

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:31 am

Probably because of the rhyming "sour" I always picture a dour expression with the lips downturned like a frowny face. :-(
And friwns do go along with dourness. Never heard the pronunciation rhyming with cur.
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Re: DOUR

Postby MTC » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:09 am

However dour may be pronounced it is forever linked to "Scot," as in "the dour Scot." In fact a Google search of the phrase gets 195,000 hits which include dictionaries giving usage examples, articles about the dour Scottish character, a brave attempt to clear the Scottish name at http://www.scotsman.com, and pictures of real dour Scots. The Scots rehabilitated their image for a time with Sean Connery, but have suffered a recent relapse with Andy Murray.
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Re: DOUR

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:10 pm

MTC wrote, "The Scots rehabilitated their image for a time with Sean Connery, but have suffered a recent relapse with Andy Murray."

When Connery was a young man he was playing James Bond. James Bond wasn't dour but his attempt at being debonair came off as being cynical to me. I never liked the Bond movies. They were worse than the Bond books and they were bad enough. In the single copy of a Bond novel in my personal library, I have inserted a critique showing future generations what I think of the book, should anyone care to know. The only other fiction book I have similarly prefaced is “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”, so you can see how low an opinion I have of Bond. The remainder of Connery's life has been pretty cynical and dour as far as I can see. Craig Ferguson of the Late Late Show is known for portraying Connery as a drunken sot who is dour indeed. Although a caricature, it seems to portray Connery pretty well.

Not being a Tennis fan, I know little about Andy Murray. In what sense has he caused a relapse? From what little I read, he seems to be a popular person.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: DOUR

Postby MTC » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:28 am

Here's a snippet from an article in The Telegraph by Judith Woods to give you a flavor, Philip:

"Andy Murray, the gruff grumpychops of the Centre Court has just triumphantly taken the trophy at Queen’s, but can he ever be taken to our hearts? Certainly there appears to be a PR campaign afoot to overturn the Scotsman’s unfortunate public persona – one so dismally taciturn it makes Gordon Brown look like Jim Carrey."

(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis ... urray.html)

Woods is being kind by describing Murray as a "gruff gumpychops." He is indeed a dismal character who drags down the game of tennis and does nothing for the Scots. And homely as a beaten stick, two sturdy legs supporting an adam"s apple. Without redeeming qualities on the court as far as I am concerned.

As for Sean Connery, he has largely been defined by the Bond role ("Bondage"), but does have other acting credits to his name including A Fine Madness (1966) and The Untouchables (1987) (Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) which showcase his talent.
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Re: DOUR

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:21 pm

I gotta stand up for the Seagull, a book I've loaned or given to many people who needed encouragement. I read it as a parable of what it takes to achieve and commented to recipients I wasn't endorsing the Budhism there, but finding who you are and devoting oneself to developing that center.
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Re: DOUR

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:52 am

Perry: I respectfully disagree.
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