Monday, January 24, 2011

Word of the Week - Pedestrian

While I'm far, far away from working on modern books, I thought I'd introduce a new feature on Mondays for now. Actually, I owe the idea to two Facebook friends, who responded to one of my word-nerd moments with the thought that I should do a word-a-day on my blog. The concept stuck with me and turned into once a week in my little brain.

So my first word of the week is . . .

Pedestrian.

Why, you ask? We all know what pedestrian means. We all know both its meanings. Sure.

But here's the curiosity. Did you know (which you obviously do if you saw my Facebook status last Tuesday) that the meaning of pedestrian that means dull, prosaic predates the meaning of walking on foot/one who travels on foot?

I had no idea. I would have thought the walker definition came first, given that "pedestrian" is from peds, which means foot. But no. Apparently it came into being first in 1716 in reference to literature, which, if it was "of the foot" was therefore as opposite "of the mind" as a piece of writing could get, LOL. It was also well contrasted with "equestrian," and we all know horses were considered a noble pursuit at the time. Hence why, by 1791, it took a literal turn.

See, you learned something. =) Come back next week for a fascinating look into the history of "macaroni." ;-)

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