Last year I had the pleasure of working with a wonderful educator and thinker, Peter Pitzele. Recently on Facebook he posted about words. In his post he tells the story of his father’s favorite word: pavement. His father chose “pavement” for it’s sound, the music of the word off his tongue. Peter had a different take: asterisk, which he breaks down into its component parts, a word which, for him, “twinkles.”
We’ve talk a lot about words, how they help or hurt, provide comfort or cause harm, and Peter’s post got me thinking…
I’m not sure that I have a favorite word, though I am sure that it would be ever-changing. But after a delightful time pondering, I have decided that, for now, my favorite word is: etcetera. (Yes, I know it’s properly written et cetera, but that would be two words!)
First, in the world of constant motions and 140 character messaging, it has a universal abbreviated state.
Latin for “and other things,” etcetera is a work in progress. Not only is it never complete, but it is replete with potential. It drifts off in a day-dreamy way. And with that implied potential, it at once rises from our past, its usage dating back to the 1400s, and carries us straight into our future.
I also like the very sound and feel of “etcetera,” its staccato cadence, and the way it starts off strong, then balances through the end like the plunk and ripples of a skipped stone, infinitely reverberating.
And finally, etcetera invokes my woefully overused and all-time favorite punctuation mark, the ellipsis.
It’s fun to have a favorite word! What’s yours?