This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Sunday Rest: autarky. Word Not To Use Today.


The first question with this word is, obviously, what's an aut?

Because if a monarchy is ruled by one person (because mon means one, as in monocycle) and a matriarchy is ruled by mother-figures (because matri means mother, as in matrimony*), then an autarky must clearly be ruled by an aut.

...except that of course we none of those other archys has a k in it, and it is at this point that our whole theory falls flat on its face.

Because as it happens autarky is nothing to do with ruling anything.

Well, except carrots and loo roll and motor cars, perhaps.

Autarky - and it must be one of the most spiky and awkward word in the English language - means self-sufficiency.

It's usually used to describe countries which don't want to have to buy things from other countries:

King George V Docks in Hull, England.

and not to Uncle Reg's runner beans:

File:Allotment Gardens - - 832255.jpg
Photo Dennis simpson

so at least the word autarky is usually ignorable.

But it still sits there, all spiky, in a corner.

And I do wish it wouldn't.

Word Not To Use Today: autarky. This word comes from the Greek autos, which means self, and arkein, to suffice.

*Um. That's a bit odd, isn't it, come to think about it.

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