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LODESTAR

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LODESTAR

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:19 pm

• lodestar •


Pronunciation: lod-stah(r) • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A guiding star, a star that shows the way, particularly Polaris, the North Star. 2. A guiding light, a principle by which we may set our course in life.

Notes: The trick in using this word is to avoid confusing lode "way, path, course, channel" with load, though nothing of any great importance hangs on it. Most dictionaries accept both spellings and, in fact, both words derive from the same source (see Word History).

In Play: Most often we use today's word in reference to a guiding principle: "'Doing well by doing good' has been and will continue to be the lodestar of this organization as long as Mr. Grace is president." We can have personal lodestars, too: "Minding my own business has been the lodestar that has gotten me safely this far in life."

Word History: Today's Good Word is an old derivative from the ancestor of lead "to guide, direct, show the way", the same source as load. The original meaning of lode is "road, way", a path that leads somewhere. It also turns up in other words and phrases like lodestone "magnetic iron", a substance that leads pieces of steel toward it. The phrase the mother lode, referring to a major vein of some valuable metal, also relies on the sense of something long and narrow leading somewhere. Back in the 16th century a lodesman was a guide or boat pilot, again, a kind of leader. (Today we thank Mark Bailey, a lodestar and Grand Panjandrum of the Alpha Agora, for furnishing the lead to this exceptionally Good Word.)
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Re: LODESTAR

Postby MTC » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:39 am

I had always thought the lodestone pointed north on a compass to the lodestar ("Northern pole star or North Star"), and the words were related in that way, but I may have been misguided...
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Re: LODESTAR

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:17 pm

North to the north magnetic pole.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: LODESTAR

Postby MTC » Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:45 pm

If you're patient enough, Luke, you may live to see the magnetic poles change places, a now-overdue event that occurs every 200,000 to 300,000 years. Compass needles would point south; Polaris would relieve the North Star as the lodestar; the apocalyptic set would have something else to be apocalyptic about. What fun!

And by the way, I see Dr. G is oscillating about the vertical axis in his choice of words from "subduction" (down) to "lodestar" (up.) This fluxion may signal the long-awaited polar reversal. Hang on!
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Re: LODESTAR

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:14 am

With baited breath! !
I told kids I was in the back of the cave when the
asteroid killed off the dinosaurs. That was a long
time ago, so I suppose I can wait for the pole change.
It seems an auspicious event enough to wait for.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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