Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What's in a word?

“Did you wear a shell-suit before 1989 or call someone a wazzock before 1984? Do you know anyone who is daft as a brush, and why you might describe them this way?”

With these words the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) invited readers to hunt for words and “rewrite the greatest book in the English language” - although I’d like to add that the plot is rather confusing and there is no romantic ending. This hunt even resulted in a 2007 BBC TV series called “Balderdash & Piffle”.

In June 1746 a group of booksellers contracted Samuel Johnson, a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer and editor, to write a dictionary. It took Johnson nearly nine years to accomplish the task, but after all he was doing it single-handedly (and don’t forget the unfortunate incident at Prince George’s house when the manuscript was supposedly burned by Blackadder, the butler – hm, thinking again that was just an episode of a TV series, funny none the less, though).

Although there had been dictionaries before Johnson’s opus, it was viewed as the pre-eminent English dictionary until the Oxford English Dictionary was completed in 1928 and replaced it. The estimated date of completion for the 3rd edition of the OED is 2037. I wonder if we should already get in queue for it or is that just the librarian in me speaking?

By the way, the entry for jewelry is:

Jewellery (US also jewelry)

noun personal ornaments, such as necklaces, rings or bracelets, that are made from or contain jewels and precious metals

I go absolutely bonkers (origin unknown, meaning “mad” in the sense of crazy, first found in the Daily Mirror of July 1945) from enthusiasm when I see these great examples of jewelry with words.

What makes half the fun when eating Chinese food from a restaurant? Right. The fortune cookies. This one from Antoinette Design is a fortune cookie I'd take anytime.

This pendant makes my librarian's heart beat a little faster once more - Words of Wisdom by Bonhomie.

And for this bracelet from M'Bellishments Jewelry you can even choose your own word!

I'm back to my first question - what's in a word? Is a word maybe just a collection of letters if you don't know it, if you don't have a taste or a sound or picture attached to it? The word SATeam for example makes me think of silver and gold, beads and cabs. And lots of talent.

Featuring artisan handmade creations by the Etsy Starving Artists Jewelry Team. SATeam members create handcrafted jewelry and beads. More information about our team and its current Etsy shop owner members can be found at SATEAM.etsy.com.


angie said...

This is an excellent post! And the selections are beautiful.

AMDesignsbyAngela said...

Very clever & interesting topic...love the SATeam examples you chose!

galadryl said...

Great subject and the examples are wonderfully incorporated .

mcstoneworks said...

Great topic and examples, Cat.

Cassie said...

Very interesting post and really nice jewelry samples made by our own team members!

Carole said...

Love the post, but that definition leaves out beads...guess we'll have to lobby for an expansion in the 2037 edition of the OED.

Mich said...

The history and book lover in me loves this! The jewelry is fabulous, too!

Marie Cristine said...


Bonnie said...

Great topic. I love word jewelry too. You have shown great inspiration pieces.

tjrjewellery said...

Good job Cat - creative entry (and the jewellery is lovely!)!

Mackenzie Rose said...

great article and beautiful jewelry:)