Monday, May 5, 2014

Word of the Week - Perfectionist

Short but sweet one today. =)

I grew up with a perfectionist for a father, so it's a word I've known for, oh, ever. I too can be a perfectionist in a lot of things (housekeeping not among them, ha ha). Never had I thought to look up its etymology, though, until I came across it in a manuscript set in biblical days. I'd already learned that most of those "isms" we know so well came out of the psychological revolution.

Perfectionist has a different but similar story. The original meaning of the word, dating from the 1650s, is actually "one who believes that moral perfection is attainable in this life through faith." A button topic for millennia, LOL. If you believed that, you were a perfectionist. If you didn't, then you weren't.

It wasn't until 1934 that the modern meaning came around--"one who is satisfied with only the highest standards." Pretty different! No longer is a word that has to do with theological debates, but now it's about measurable standards.

Who knew?


  1. Oh wow! I never knew that! And I am very much a perfectionist. ;) Except with housekeeping. I like happy, small amounts of clutter. Except on my desk. Everything has a place & is kept in it there.

    1. I apparently can't live with some clutter. Or maybe it's my children who can', it begins with me, LOL. And I just saw that your book will be available soon--CONGRATS!!