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Tuesday 30 October 2012

Thing To Try Today: be a paragon.

Are you a paragon?


Do you want to be a paragon?

Well, none of us would mind a model of excellence, I'm sure, except that the poor word is practically always shackled to virtue, as in a paragon of virtue, which sounds no fun at all.

Perhaps, though, we could be a paragon of something else. It needn't be anything too difficult: train-spotting. Napkin folding. Beard-growing.

Or, if even this is a bit much, we can use paragon to mean to regard someone as a paragon. And that's quite easy.

I'm quite happy to paragon Rudolf Nureyev, for a start.

Apart from this, a paragon can be 20 point type, an unflawed diamond weighing at least 100 carats, or a large spherical pearl.

Thing To Try Today: be a paragon. This word comes from the Old Italian paragone, from paragonare to test on a whetstone, which is in turn from the Greek para, which is one of those bits of words which can mean more or less anything, and akonē, whetstone.

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