The joy of words - an anodyne kitten


Like many of us, I enjoy words - though my vocabulary is nowhere near as diverse as I would like it to be (I would be lost without my thesaurus!) So I am always on the lookout for words that I can introduce into my writing, or just slip into daily conversation to impress people!

One that I came across the other day while reading Malcolm McKinnon's The Broken Decade: Prosperity, depression and recovery in New Zealand 1928-39 (Otago University Press, 2016), was "anodyne". The context was:

But Labour leader Harry Holland, eschewing the convention of anodyne comment, looked back and out in anger - or despair, stating in a debate in Parliament in 1932: "... the supreme tragedy of history ...[ is that] while there is no shortage whatever of the things people need, the people starve and perish because of their inability to buy the things which have been produced."

To me "anodyne" sounds vaguely medicinal - like an ointment to sooth skin irruptions or sores - so it is not surprising that it originates from a Latin word meaning "painless" and it today used as an adjective to mean:

relieving pain, or

soothing to the mind or feelings.

(This post signals my intention to be begin a series of word of the day posts - though these are likely to be entirely unreliable in terms of regularity, and completely reliant on inspiration and time.)

Image: Some people find kittens anodyne - though others find that their habit of destroying lounge suites and other home furnishings quite infuriating. Those people might like to try meditation instead.

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