I go for a swim in the outside community pool in Cabo Roig, Spain, early morning. At that time of the day I have the pool all to myself. I usually swim for an hour – I find it is the best time for me to think about the next chapter of my latest book or the contents of my next blog. The other day, I thought about the swimming style forward crawl. If ever a swimming style was misnamed it was the over arm/forward crawl; the fastest swimming stroke invented. That got me thinking of the meaning of words.
As I swum back and forth, my mind wavered (pardon the weak, watery play on words) to a British TV programme called ‘Countdown’. ‘Countdown’ is a game show involving word and number puzzles. Because it’s so hot at the moment, I watch this afternoon programme. There is an unassuming lady on the programme, called Susie Dent, she is a whiz-kid on the English language and tells the two contestants, who have to make up a word from jumbled-up nine letters, if the word is correctly spelt. She also has a spot when she tells the audience about the definition of words and when they came into the English language. She talked about the word ‘expunge’ this week, and she quoted a definition of the verb ‘expunge’, ‘erase or remove completely’. Origin – Early 17th century: from Latin, ‘expungere mark for deletion by means of points’. She said there are numerous words, e.g. ‘pointless’, ‘puncture’, and ‘punctuation’, which derive from the verb ‘expunge’. Such as the adjective ‘pointless’, meaning e.g. ‘without a point’. And the noun ‘puncture’ an example of a definition: ‘the act of piercing or perforating with a pointed instrument or object’. Finally, I end with the noun ‘punctuation’. Definition: the marks, such as full stops and commas, in a piece of writing. It comes from the Latin word ‘pungere’ meaning ‘to prick’ or ‘to pierce’.
It is pointless, but I wish the heat in Spain was ‘expunged’, because I’m feeling tired and deflated. We had rain on Monday night, 1st September, and I hope as we are in September it will cool a little. (I wrote most of this blog when it was hot, but it has been cooler the last few days. We had rain most of yesterday, Sunday, 6th September, and now it has now come to a full stop!).