Paean

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Dr. Goodword
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Paean

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:08 pm

• paean •


Pronunciation: pee-ên • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A song of praise. 2. A song, poem, or other expression of profound joy, gratitude, or triumph.

Notes: The original paean was a hymn of praise sung to Apollo or other gods for safety before going into battle, or on other occasions. Do not confuse today's Good Word with a peon [pee-ahn] "serf, drudge, underpaid worker", with the stronger second syllable. No one would write a paean to a peon.

In Play: Paeans tend to be formal expressions of praise or triumph, "Gladys Dunn's farewell speech was a paean to all those she had worked for without a crumb of recognition and for those who had worked for her." Are you tired of apologizing for the state of your home? Try this instead: "My house is a passionate paean to disorder."

Word History: Today's Good Word is an exact copy of Latin paean "hymn of thanksgiving". The Romans simply transliterated the Greek paian, a commonization of Paian. This word was originally the name of the physician to the gods but later became a form of address for the god Apollo, to whom most paeans were addressed. No one really knows where Paian's name comes from. (No better source for a word as Greek as today's than the Stargazer of our Alpha Agora, Larry Brady)
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George Kovac
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Re: Paean

Postby George Kovac » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:58 am

I am perplexed by the variety in the pronunciation of “ae.” Look at these examples that have recently been featured as daily Goodwords: paean, caesura. The first syllables don’t rhyme. Those words and their spellings both originate in Latin, so they should sound the same.

But wait, there’s more! aerate, aerobics, aesthete, mediaeval, maestro, aerodynamic. And the Brits make it even worse by insisting on misspelling words that Americans spell more sensibly: paediatrician, encyclopaedia, aeroplane.
“The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words.” Colum McCann “But Always Meeting Ourselves” New York Times, June 15, 2009

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LukeJavan8
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Re: Paean

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:07 pm

Good Catch!
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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call_copse
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Re: Paean

Postby call_copse » Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:27 am

I'm pretty sure being orthographically challenged is not the worst transatlantic trait I can think of right now 8)
Iain

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LukeJavan8
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Re: Paean

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:07 pm

Well, I especially enjoyed this posting. So keep at it.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

George Kovac
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Re: Paean

Postby George Kovac » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:39 pm

Yes, and for enabling this exchange, I am thankful for Dr. Goodword's aegis.
“The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words.” Colum McCann “But Always Meeting Ourselves” New York Times, June 15, 2009

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Re: Paean

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:05 pm

No paean toa peon?
"The plowman homeward plods his weary way..."
pl


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