This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Famous: a rant.

Every schoolboy knows who imprisoned Montezuma and who strangled Atahualpa, said Thomas Babington Macaulay, thereby filling me with a healthy, useful, and life-long sense of my own ignorance.

I've looked up the answer quite often, but I always forget who it was.*

I think of every schoolboy knows whenever I come across a list of contestants for some TV celebrity competition, or the latest features on a phone, or...

...well, the list of things that everybody knows (except me) is pretty-much endless.

Here's a recent example from The Telegraph of the 4th April:

'...a tariff war that bears some comparison with the famous Smoot-Hawley Act of the 1930s'

The Smoot-Hawley Act?



It occurs to me that sometimes ignorance might even be a sign of quite a well-lived life.

Word To Use Today: ignorance. This word can mean nastily ill-disposed in this part of Hertfordshire, England, but generally it's to do with not-knowing, from the Latin ignōrāre, not to know, from gnārus, knowing.

*I've just looked it up again, and it turns out that no one really knows who strangled Atahualpa (though Pizarro ordered his execution). Montezuma was imprisoned by the Cortes-led Spanish.

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