Monday, March 7, 2011


I really don't like the word 'quaver'.  It always sounds like somebody couldn't decide whether to say quiver or waver, and ended up mashing them together.  And that's basically what the word means.  Still, it is a real word.  Looking at its origins, it actually comes from mashing up 'quake' and 'waver' (so I was pretty close). I find it to be an unpleasant word.

In a conversation recently, a friend used the word 'stolid'.  Somehow, that word sounded nice.  Still, it seemed strange to me in a similar way.  It sounds like a mash-up of 'stoic' and 'solid'.  The definition of the word is "not easily stirred or moved mentally; unemotional; impassive."  That's pretty accurate for being stoic and solid.

So I checked the etymology of 'stolid', wondering if I would be as close as I was with 'quaver'.  Turns out, 'stolid' comes straight from Latin: stolidus.  Damn.  I was surprised at how totally wrong I was.  How could it be that one word sounds like a mash-up and actually is one, but another word that also sounds like a mash-up is not whatsoever?

But that's the lesson, isn't it?  Sometimes the answer isn't what you think it is.  Sometimes that means it's simpler; sometimes that means it's more complex.  In any case, do the research if you can so that you know for sure.


  1. Glad to see I influenced a blog post :)

  2. Oh yeah. If you talk with me and you read my blog, you will eventually see some familiar-sounding posts.