I was goofing off (bad writer, but I wrote until well after midnight last night, so stale to start this morning) and ran across the latest show-offy & disgusting post by Trump about his upcoming visit to the Fulton County Jail to get “arrested for having the audacity to challenge a rigged and stollen (his spelling) election ….”
My backbrain sat up straight and waved its hand for my attention. “Teacher, teacher he misspelled stolen and stollen is a real word and it means–”
“Yes, I know,” I said mentally. ‘A kind of holiday bread in Germany.”
“Yes, teacher but he also used audacity like he thought it meant only ‘bold’ from the Latin ‘audax’ and there are other usages–”
I sortakinda remembered that, outside of my backbrain, but not all the specifics. “See you at the OED,” I said, with great cheeriness and backbrain sank back into his assigned seat and put his head on his desk.
Audacity is, of course in Volume 1, A-B. I’m getting smoother at removing a volume and flipping it open to the approximate location, but the Au bunch is large and it took several exploratory page flips to find it. And there was the jewel I sought. 3. Open disregard of the restraints of decorum or morality: effrontery, impudence, shamelessness. The first use in print citation is from 1545. Perfect. Trump hoisting himself on his own petard, BOOM! Self-description accurate beyond, no doubt his intention. Not bold, not brave, not admirable. Open disregard of the restraints of decorum or morality. Check. Effrontery, impudence, shamelessness. Check.
Backbrain has received a + for today and a ticket to join in the day’s half hour of rabbit-holing in the OED in the evening. Backbrain is happy. I am happy. I am SO happy that I overcame my “But you don’t deserve that because somebody else needs something more than you” impulse to not buy this OED. No. I needed it. I’m using it. I’m waking up the word-finding part of my brain just by rabbit-hole exploration. Just having it over there, leaking words into the atmosphere, is helpful.
And finding out that usage 3. turned Trump’s brag about himself into a self-revelation of the nekkid kingpin…? THAT was landing the complicated many-flip floor exercise perfectly, jumping the cross-country course clear and inside the time, singing that string of 16th notes at the start of Bach’s Magnificat and the whole choir snapping the final T exactly together. Like that. Now back to fiction. In another post, later. I’m doing something I’ve never done before.
Words, words, words, words….