This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Word To Use Today: eleven.

It's the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year two thousand and eleven.

At eleven o'clock there will be a minute's silence to commemorate the dead of all the wars.

Oh, this must be an awe-inspiring day for anyone with a trace of imagination in their bones.

Eleven is a strange number (as well as, obviously, being an odd one). It's a left-over from when we used to count in dozens, and that's why it doesn't follow the ten-plus-something pattern of thirteen, or fifteen, or nineteen.

But why is the eleventh hour the last possible opportunity for salvation before disaster strikes?

Why is it so many games - soccer, hockey, cricket - have teams of eleven players? (an elfmeter in Germany, which means eleven metre, is a name for a penalty kick at soccer). 

Why does the sunspot cycle last eleven years?

Well, there are always more questions than there is time to consider them.

But today, at the hour when in less busy times people used to stop for their elevensies, for once we'll all have the opportunity to consider.

And we'll have time to remember, too.


Word To Use Today: eleven. This word comes from the Old English endleofan. There were similar words in Europe: Old Norse ellefo, Old Frisian andlova, Old High German einlif.

No comments:

Post a Comment