This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Sunday Rest: dawk. Word Not To Use Today.

We have so many way to communicate: smoke rings, email, drums, semaphore...
...and then there's dawk.
No, it doesn't sound very cutting-edge, does it: but for a long time dawk was the very best system of communicating over laong distances there was.
Dawk is a way of delivering messages (or sometimes people) by relays of horses or bearers. The Romans used something like it, though they had more sense than to call it dawk.
Rather horribly, a delivery service isn't the only meaning of the word dawk. A dawk can also be a hand, though it sounds like a rather grubby, clumsy sort of a hand, and not one with which I would wish to have anything to do.

File:Dirty Hands.jpg

Lastly, and most recently, a dawk is a hybrid of a hawk and a dove. No, not a monster of genetic engineering, but someone who has neither an aggressive nor a passive attitude to the issues of the day.

A meaning which manages to be dull, as well as ugly.
Word Not To Use Today: dawk. This transport word comes from the Hindi dāk from the Sanskrit drāk, which means quickly. The word meaning hand is a dialect word from North Eastern England. The issues word appeared in the second half of the 1960s, and is a mixture of the words dove and hawk. Well, I suppose hove would have caused difficulties with pronunciation.
People have been known to use the word dawkish. But it would be really much better if they didn't.

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