Archive for April 9, 2007

That’s so Weird! — Just what is a “Weirdling”?

April 9, 2007


I’m one of those outlandish (and getting rare) people who think that words mean things and who thinks the history of words is important.

The word weird has a history. These days people use it to describe something odd, or strange, and leave it at that.

According to The New Oxford Shorter Dictionary (you know, like a real dictionary) there are three (count ’em!) different entries for weird.

It is derived from the Old English “Wyrd” and means: Inexorable fate, destiny. A person claiming or thought to have the power to foresee and control future events; . . .

In Late Middle English: Having or claiming to have preternatural power to control the fate or destiny of human beings etc. Partaking or suggestive of fate or the supernatural, unearthly, eery, . . .

The dictionary has more to say, but I’ll stop there. Perhaps the only instance some modern people have of the word being used in this way is from Shakespeare — the weird sisters from Macbeth.

The second book in the Purloined Boy trilogy is called The Weirdling. If you’ve finished the first book, can you guess why?