This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Thing Probably Not To Be Today: wizened.

File:Old zacatecas lady.jpg
Curiously compelling lady from Zacatecas, Mexico. Photo by Tomas Castelazo 

Wizened is a very old word to describe some very old things. On the whole, in fact, it describes things that are too old. If you want to see something wizened (not that you do) then look in your fruit bowl. You're bound to find a grape there that's most of the way to being a raisin, or a pear that's gone through its half-hour window of perfection and got to the stage where you suspect its withered stalk will no longer support its weight.

The sort-of good news is that there are fewer wizened people about than there used to be: we're mostly too inflated with fat for the wrinkles to have anywhere to sink. True, newborn babies sometimes make their entry to the world looking a hundred years old, but now even hundred-year-olds will often have a bit of dash and glamour about them.

Dagny Carlsson of the blog Life begins at 100

But still, the fear of being wizened lurks in our minds. The face cream industry world-wide is expected to reach 141 billion US dollars in 2019 - and there are only 7.7 billion people on the planet, so that's $18 each. And even though the fact that these creams are sold as cosmetics means that they must have been scientifically proved not to have any lasting effect (otherwise they would have had to be registered as medicines), still fear drives us to buy the stuff.

Or perhaps it's not fear, but vanity.

Well, we'd rather be plums than prunes, wouldn't we.

Thing Not To Be Today: wizened. This word was wisnian in Old English. 

Wizened is also an alternative spelling for weasand, the windpipe.

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