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 April 2014

Sunday Rest: diurnal. Word Not To Use Today.

The poet William Wordsworth was a genius. He was so often sublime, so often breathtakingly graceful, simple and profound:

A slumber did my spirit seal;
          I had no human fears:
          She seemed a thing that could not feel
            The touch of earthly years.

One of Wordsworth's rules for his poetry was to use "language really used by men". But sometimes he just couldn't help himself getting a bit poetical.

          No motion has she now, no force;
            She neither hears nor sees;
          Rolled round in earth's diurnal course,
            With rocks, and stones, and trees.


Diurnal usually means to do with the daytime (as opposed to nocturnal). Diurnal flowers open in the daytime, diurnal animals sleep at night, and a diurnal is a book containing all the church services except matins (which, although its name means morning, used to have an irritating habit of being held in the middle of the night).

Apart from the fact the I don't think I've ever heard anyone say diurnal in my whole life, diurnal is a horrible word. Well, it's made up of DIE and URN and ALL, which add not a jot to the gaiety of the nation.

Ah well, the word is with us, now.

But the least we can do is leave it to the long-dead poets.

Evening Dawn
Photo publicdomain

Word Not To Use Today: diurnal. This word from the Latin diēs, which means day.


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