Archive for April 9, 2007

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

April 9, 2007

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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?

Morty

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