…the bird is the WORD! I thought, for kicks, that it would be fun to look at the English word word. We use it to define so many things across so many genres and topics that it seems fitting in a blog topic about words that we should look at “word.”
Word is a “single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing.” It has Germanic and Dutch roots. It links to similar words for speaking and speech. I like that it has association with a promise. I love how the Christian Bible uses John 1–The Word. It describes so much and yet is a small, four letter combination. It covers an array of definitions as a noun, a verb and yet-only has a limited usage (word, words, worded, wording, etc.)
We use “word” so much–next time you speak about “word”–think about the loaded yet simple definition you hold.
For a few years I have tried including words meanings from other languages in a category I called “word woche.” It came from the German word for “week” and it was an attempt to define random words. While I love learning a new language and understanding its history and its usage–I realized that there are several words in the English language as well that provide intriguing stories and histories. And since people only need a small dosage of this knowledge 😉 (unless you’re like me), I decided to rename the category and give it more of an afterthought concept.
So–here it is–the new and improved word whistles. And in honor of the new category, let’s look at the word
Webster’s dictionary defines a “whistle” as:
1 a :a small wind instrument in which sound is produced by the forcible passage of breath through a slit in a short tube <a police whistle>
b :a device through which air or steam is forced into a cavity or against a thin edge to produce a loud sound <a factory whistle>
2 a :a shrill clear sound produced by forcing breath out or air in through the puckered lips
b :the sound produced by a whistle
c :a signal given by or as if by whistling
The word’s etymology is very interesting actually. It has Germanic, Norse and Danish roots coming from a similar word “to hiss” since the action of pushing breath through your lips or teeth is a hissing action as well. This definition and history also covers the verb to whistle and another word whisper. The hissing action is closely related to the hissing or a serpent or snake. No wonder some people cannot stand it! Clean as a whistle or wet one’s whistle are phrases that are about cleansing a person’s vocal chords with water or drink since the whisper or whistle are like breathe cleaning or wetting your throat with air. Maybe this explains why people whistle as a way to clear their mind.
For dogs, whistling can even hurt their ears since it is a high pitched sound and their hearing is more affected than a human’s hearing.
🎶🎶🎶enjoy your whistling🎶🎶🎶