This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Thing To Do Today: be merry.

It's only occasionally we get the chance to be merry, so I suggest we seize the opportunity while we can. Otherwise we'll have to wait until either Merry Monday, which is the day before Shrove Tuesday, or the merry month of May, when, after all, we might be busy doing other things.

Merry means happy. It also means a bit drunk, but this is optional, obviously.

You could go the whole hog with the merry thing if you wished and be a merry-andrew, which is a buffoon or clown. So is a merryman (although a merryman is sometimes the companion of a knight or an outlaw).

A merrythought is a nicely seasonal: it's another name for a wishbone.

A merry-totter (isn't that lovely?) can often be found next to a merry-go-round, because it's a see-saw or a swing.

Full marks to anyone managing a merry ride on a merry-totter while brandishing a merrythought and dressed as a merry-andrew.

You'll be quite likely to get a complimentary stay in a lunatic asylum, too.

Thing To Do Today: be merry. This word comes from the Old English myrige, which means pleasing. Before that it was probably connected with the Old High German murg, which means short.

This is a bit surprising, but the change in meaning seems to be something to do with time flying when you're having fun.

1 comment:

  1. I love all the Christmassy things on the Word Den! Thank you for all of them, esp pointing out that tinsel comes from Etincelle etc. Marvellous.
    But it's a funny thing about 'merry.' It goes with Christmas in a way that 'happy' does not. Don't ask me why...I would NEVER wish someone a happy Christmas but always a merry one and the other way round with NEW YEAR. SO never Merry New Year but always HNY! What a funny thing it is, this language!