This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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



Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Thing Not To Be Today: miserly.

Did you know that to a civil engineer a miser is a large hand-drill-type thing for making holes in loose soils? 

Well, you do now.

The usual meaning of miser is, of course, a person who hoards money or possessions with a great and fierce fervour. 

It seems that the pleasure of a hoard, whether of beautiful shiny gold or of invisible (and really non-existent) money in the bank, means that a miser can't bear to exchange any of it for anything, whether flowers, respectable clothes, or friends.

At the bottom of being miserly is a desire for control; and at the bottom of that must almost always be a lurking well of fear.

There's something else connected with misers, too: I used to do yearly a door-to-door collection for charity, starting at the rich end of my street and finishing with the shared-house single-roomers. 

Not only did the donations get larger as the means of the people reduced, but the connection between the words miser and miserable was absolutely as plain as day.

Have a happy day!

Thing Not To Be Today: miserly. Miser is Latin for wretched.

Why the drill is called a miser no one knows: but then as very few of us have heard of the thing this is perhaps not surprising.




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